Beech Trees: Types, Leaves, Bark — Identification Guide (Pictures)

SBeech trees (botanical name Fagus) have lime green ovate leaves that create a dense, rounded crown and are tall deciduous shade trees. Little clusters of yellow-green flowers precede beech tree fruit or beechnuts in all varieties of beech trees. Beech tree foliage becomes golden brown in the autumn, with orange and yellow hues. In huge landscapes, beech trees are planted. Tall trees are used to create privacy hedges or screens, or they are planted in rows..

Beech trees, most of which belong to the genus Fagus, are found to be just 13 species. The subgenus Engleriana contains a few Asian beech tree species. American beech trees (Fagus grandifolia) and European beech trees (Fagus sylvatica) are the two most prevalent kinds of beech trees. Beech trees are a forgiving tree that grows well in a variety of environments.

Beech trees are native to temperate areas of North America and Europe and thrive in rich, loamy soil with excellent drainage. pecies are particularly resistant to pests, illness, and deer as a lovely scenery tree. The many species of beech trees are identified in this guide. Different varieties of Fagus may be identified by descriptions of beech tree leaves, flowers, fruit, and bark.

Beech Tree Leaves

The glossy dark green color, ovate to elliptical form, and finely serrated edges of beech tree leaves distinguish them from autumn foliage (right). The edges of young beech leaves are covered in fine hairs and appear lime green. The glossy, dark green leaves take on gorgeous bronze, copper, or yellow colors in the autumn. Beech leaves grow to be 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 cm) long and broad, and may be up to 4 inches (10 cm) broad.

Examining the veins on a beech leaf blade may be one method to identify it. From the midriff to the blade’s edge, beech trees have parallel leaf veins. The beech leaf has a somewhat serrated appearance because the side veins terminate in a point. The deep growth of beech tree leaves is a noteworthy characteristic.

Beech trees are excellent landscaping shade trees because of their small size, glossy green leaves that turn golden brown, and the tree’s lofty height.

Beech Tree Bark

The smooth, light gray appearance of beech tree bark distinguishes it from other tree barks. The bark of beech trees becomes riddled with fissures as they grow older. Beech bark appears to have horizontal ridges or shallow fissures running lengthwise down the lengthy, straight tree trunk on mature trees. The exquisite, silvery-gray bark of a beech tree distinguishes it in winter settings.

Beech Tree Flowers

With the emergence of new leaves in mid-to-late spring, American beech trees produce little spidery flowers. Male and female flowers occur on the same tree, which is monoecious, or having both male and female blooms. Male beech catkins resemble groups of globular heads with spindly filamenting.

They are catkins. Long petioles (stems) dangle down from the ends of these fuzzy-looking blooms. Female beech petals (petiole) rise upright over the dangling clusters of male petals, without any stalk. Beech tree blooms, which bloom in spring, have an overall look that is yellowish-green and insignificant, with pendulous spindly catkins.

Beech Tree Fruit

The spiky husks of the beech tree fruit (beechnut) are conspicuous by their dark color and unusual three-angled shape on the top left. Beech tree nuts (fruit) are triangular in form and wrapped in cupules, which are spiky husks. Beechnuts have a distinctive look that distinguishes them from other trees.

Beech Tree Identification

The leaves, bark, and fruit of beech trees may all be used to identify them. The leaves of the beech tree are shiny, dark ovate in shape, and pointed. Also look for veins that run from the midriff to the serrated edges of the blade. In winter, beech trees are easily recognized due to their smooth silvery-gray bark.

Types of Beech Trees

Compared to other deciduous trees, beech trees are easily recognized. The most common types of beech trees also have minor differences. Keep reading to learn about the differences between beech tree species.

American Beech Tree (Fagus grandifolia)

The American beech tree is a tall, glossy green foliage hardwood tree with smooth light-gray bark and a rounded, spreading crown. It is distinguished by its large, broad leaves. The American beech grows between 60 and 80 feet (18 to 24 meters) tall and broad as a lovely shade tree.

During all seasons, American beech trees are a delight to see. Golden yellow to copper and bronze are among their spectacular autumn hues. The winter appeal is added by the smooth gray bark and zigzag branches. Large, glossy green leaves provide plenty of shade in open areas throughout the spring and summer.

USDA zones 3 – 9 are ideal for Fagus grandifolia. In moist, well-drained soil, full sun or partial shade, the tall tree thrives best. The American beech tree blooms in the spring, just as it does with other beech trees. Three-sided edible beechnuts are found within soft, spiky seed cases, and the Fagus grandiflora tree produces fruit.

The American beech tree is the only one that exists. The European beech tree, Fagus sylvatica, is the most common cultivar of beech trees. There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to grow an American beech in your yard. In addition, the tree isn’t suited for tight soil or urban settings.

It also requires a lot of space to develop because to its vast spreading crown. The American beech, on the other hand, is a stunning landscape tree if you have room for its low-growing horizontal branches and thick foliage.

American beech tree leaf

American beech tree leaves have a lustrous sheen and a pointed tip, with elliptical to ovate form. The wide leaves are up to 3″ (7.5 cm) long and 3″ (7.5 cm) broad, measuring 3″–6″ (7.5–15 cm). The leaf margins are serrated, and veins run parallel down the length of the leaf.

On light gray branches, the simple tree leaves grow alternately. American tree leaves turn coppery-bronze in the autumn, from their previous dark green color. The large leaves of the beech tree are referred to by the botanical name Fagus grandiflora.

American beech tree bark

As the tree grows, the bark of American beech trees becomes light, silvery-gray, and smooth. Beech bark disease is a problem with Fagus grandiflora. The beech scale insect, Cryptococcus fagisuga, is responsible for this fungal disease.

American beech tree care

In deep, rich, well-draining soil and partial shade to partial shade, grow the American beech tree. This prevents fungus and prevents shallow roots from developing suckers. In late winter or early spring, it’s a good idea to remove suckers and trim the tree.

European Beech (Fagus sylvatica)

The European beech tree is a stunning deciduous landscape tree with a pyramidal to rounded crown of thick foliage that is adorned with large green leaves. In the spring, the tree’s broadly elliptic glossy leaves are light green, then dark green in the summer before becoming golden brown in the autumn.

Between 40 and 60 feet (12 to 18 meters) tall, European beech trees grow. In USDA zones 4–9, European beech trees flourish. The European variety thrives in full sun or partial shade, as do other beech trees. This type, on the other hand, thrives in compacted earth. As a result, it is better suited for active landscaping with higher pedestrian traffic.

The native European species is somewhat smaller than the American beech tree. It takes less room than the American beech, despite being a big landscaping tree. The European beech, which thrives on deep, rich soil, grows as a specimen tree or hedge plant.

The European and American beech trees are easily distinguished. Beech, a smaller tree species, has been identified in Europe. It has shorter leaves with wavy, non-serrated margins and dark gray bark rather than light gray. The bristly seed cases of the European beech, which contain hard-shelled, triangular edible kernels, may be seen in deciduous woodlands and parks.

European beech tree leaf

The ovate form, smooth, hairless blades, and glossy appearance of beech leaves distinguish them from those on other trees. During the summer, the beech tree leaves are dark green, but in the autumn, they change to red, burgundy, copper, and yellow. The leaves are 6 inches (15 centimeters) long and broad and have a simple, ovate-elliptic shape. On dark gray branches, leaves are arranged alternately. Along the leaf’s wavy margins, there is no serration.

European beech tree bark

The European beech tree’s bark is smooth and dark gray, with a hint of red. European beech tree bark doesn’t turn scaly and fissured, even when it gets a little rougher as the tree ages.

European beech tree care

In full sun to partial shade, grow the slow-growing European beech tree. Loose, loamy alkaline soil with excellent drainage is the ideal kind of location. Beech trees aren’t tolerant of drought, so water the ground enough to keep it moist.

Copper Beech Tree (Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea’)

The copper beech tree (Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea’) has a wide spreading crown of purple or coppery-colored leaves and is also known as the purple beech tree. Between 50 and 60 feet (15 and 18 meters) tall, the magnificent deciduous landscape tree grows. It has a gray bark that adds to its winter charm. This is a great shade tree in the summer because of its thick foliage.

In USDA zones 5 – 9, copper beech bark ‘Purpurea’ flourishes in full to partial sunlight. Fagus sylvatica’s popular name comes from its lovely copper-colored leaves. In the early spring and summer, the large ovate serrated leaves are a rich purple color. Copper beech tree leaves turn golden yellow in the autumn, when they are dark green. The smooth, glossy leaves have a wavy border and no teeth, as do all varieties of Fagus sylvatica.

You may grow the Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea Nana’ dwarf beech tree in a small garden because it has all of the appealing features of the taller copper beech tree. In the autumn, the bright spring and summer purple leaves mature to a warm copper color. At around 12 feet (3.5 meters) tall and 8 feet (2.4 meters) broad, this little landscaping beech tree matures.

Weeping Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’)

The weeping beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’) has drooping gray branches, dark green broadly elliptic leaves, and a wide crown. It is a lovely deciduous tree. The weeping beech produces tiny, spindly yellowish blooms, much like other beech trees. Between 35 and 50 feet (11 to 15 meters) tall and broad, weeping beech trees may be found.

The leaves of the weeping beech tree have a simple elliptical shape. In the autumn, the smooth, glossy leaves acquire a coppery-brown tint. In winter landscapes, the gray bark adds stunning visual appeal when the leaves have fallen.

USDA zones 4 – 7 are ideal for weeping beech trees. In full sun and deep, loamy soil that is kept moist but never soggy, grow this weeping landscape tree. The weeping beech is one of the most popular decorative trees for vast landscapes, according to many people.

Tricolor Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea Tricolor’)

The tricolor European beech tree has smooth gray bark, tiny clusters of spidery flowers, and superb dark purple and pink variegated leaves. The little beech tree with the tricolor beech is between 20 and 30 feet (6 and 9 meters) tall. In USDA zones 4 – 7, the tricolor beech is an appropriate specimen tree or hedge plant.

This Fagus species’ tricolor leaves are what set it apart. This beech tree is distinguished by its purple leaves with pink edges that turn dark green with white borders. The 4-inch (10-cm) long ovate leaves change color to a brilliant golden hue in the fall.

The tricolor beech tree’s pink foliage may scorch in the hot sun, which is why it’s called tricolor beech. As a result, growing this easy-care beech in part shade and maintaining the well-draining soil consistently moist is optimum.

Common Beech ‘Dawyck Purple’ (Fagus sylvatica ‘Dawyck Purple’)

The European beech known as the common beech ‘Dawyck Purple, has light gray bark and tiny yellowish-green flowers. It is a medium-sized columnar tree with dark purple leaves. As a specimen tree or dark-leaved screen, this deciduous landscape tree is ideal. Between 25 and 50 feet (7 and 15 meters) tall, the upright beech tree can reach a height of up to 15 feet. It’s a big world out there, and it continues to grow.

The dark, glossy, widely elliptic leaves of the Dawyck Purple beech are a distinguishing characteristic. During the summer, the beech leaves develop dark purple blades that turn reddish-purple. The beech leaves acquire an stunning golden-bronze hue in the autumn.

In USDA zones 4 – 7, the ‘Dawyck Purple’ beech tree is an ideal choice for medium to big garden landscapes. Full sun or partial shade, as well as deep, rich, moist soil, are ideal for the columnar beech tree. The Dawyck Purple European beech is a terrific option if you’re looking for a gorgeous purple-leaved landscaping tree.

Fern-Leaved Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’)

The fern-leaved beech has fuzzy, feathery fern-like leaves that create a dense pyramidal to round crown. It is named for the fern-like leaves. The fern-leaved beech grows to be 60–80 feet (18–24 meters) tall and broad as a tall landscape tree. The Asplenifolia beech tree thrives in full sun or partial shade in USDA zones 4 – 7.

Because of its distinctive leaves, the fern-leaved beech tree is readily recognized. The leaves are lengthy and thin, with pointed lobes on the margins, unlike most beech species. A tapered tip distinguishes each of the slender triangular leaves. Throughout the summer, the beech leaves are dark green, then golden yellow in the autumn.

Little yellowish flower clusters bloom in the spring and triangular beechnuts are encased in spiky husks, which fall in the autumn, as other identifying characteristics of the fern-leaved beech.

The bark of an ancient fern-leaved beech tree

Japanese Beech (Fagus crenata)

One of the most typical trees in deciduous woods is the Japanese beech tree (Fagus crenata), which is endemic to Asia. The Japanese beech has smooth gray bark, dark green ovate leaves with serrated edges, and tiny spring flowers. It is also known as Siebold’s beech or buna. The low-branching growth and enormous, spreading rounded crown of the Japanese beech are characteristics to look for.

USDA zones 4 – 7 are ideal for the Japanese beech tree. The beech tree thrives on loamy, well-drained soil and prefers full sun to partial shade.

Japanese beech bark comes in two types: green and white.

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