Fagus sylvatica Fagaceae
European Beech FA-gus sil-VAT-i-ka
- Deciduous tree, 50-75 ft (15-23 m) tall and 40-60 ft (12-18 m) spread, pyramidal to oval, dense. Bark smooth gray, developing an elephant hide appearance on old trunks. Buds narrow, long (2-2.5 cm), pointed. Leaves simple, alternate, 5-10 cm long, usually entire (silky and fringed with hairs [ciliate] when young), undulate, 5-9 vein pairs (F. grandifolia has 9-14 pair), acute apex, lustrous dark green above, light green beneath, glabrous at maturity, silky, ciliate when young; petiole 0.5-1 cm long, downy. Flowers open as leaves are expanding, male and female types on the same tree, male (staminate, pollen) in greenish-yellow, ball-like heads on long stalks, female (pistilate, seed) usually in reddish-brown, 2-flowered clusters on short stalks. May not flower until 30-80 years old. Fruit is about 2 cm long, with a light brown to reddish bristly husk, which opens into 4 parts and usually contains a pair of triangular, brown nuts, each about 1 cm long, edible, "beechnuts".
- Best in full sun but will withstand part shade. More tolerant of soils than F. grandifolia, otherwise similar requirements. Withstands pruning so well it can be used to form a very narrow yet tall hedge or windbreak (Hellyer, 1982).
- Hardy to USDA Zone 4 Native to Europe, long cultivated and a number of selections available, including:
- 'Asplenifolia' (Fernleaf or Cutleaf European Beech) - dense growth, leaves green but dissected, offering a fern-like appearance
- 'Atropunicea' (Purple Beech) (syn. 'Purpurea') - apparently the original purple leaf beech.
- 'Cockelshell' (Cockleshell Beech) - slow growing, somewhat columnar form, glossy, round green leaves.
- 'Dawyck Gold' (Dawyck Gold European Beech) - leaves golden at first, bright green in summer.
- 'Dawyck Purple' (Purple Columnar Beech) - purple leaf form, narrow habit
- 'Fastigiata' (Dawyck Beech) (syn.? 'Dawyck) - the original 'Dawyck' beech is rigidly columnar without pruning. Confusion at to whether 'Fastigiata' in commerce refers only to the 'Dawyck' beech.
- 'Milonensis' (Milton European Beech) - weeping form, green leaves.
- 'Pendula' (Weeping Green Beech) (syn. F. s. f. pendula) - green leaves and pendulous branches, variable tree forms, some broad, mushroom-shaped, and other rather narrow and tall ("fountain-like").
- 'Purple Fountain' (Purple Fountain European Beech) - purple leaves, tree narrowly upright with a central leader; a seedling of 'Purple Pendula'.
- 'Purpurea Pendula' (Weeping Purple Beech) - purple leaves, slow growing, mushroom-shaped shrub.
- 'Red Obelisk' (Red Obelisk European Beech) (syn. 'Rohan Obelisk') - dark purple dissected leaves, pyramidal-columnar form.
- 'Riversii' (Rivers Purple Beech) - deep purple leaves, glossy, large. A common purple leaf selection.
- 'Rohanii' (Purple Sawtooth European Beech) - bronzy-purple leaves in spring, shallow rounded teeth, tree relatively narrow.
- 'Roseo-marginata' and 'Tricolor' (Tricolor European Beech) - purple leaf forms with irregular rose and pinkish boarders, the two selections are similar or even identical.
- 'Spaethiana' (Spaeth European Beech or Blood Beech) - somewhat similar to 'Riversii', leaves darker purple, later to emerge and to drop, tree narrower and smaller.
- 'Swat Magret' (Swat Magret European Beech) - large glossy purple leaves, turn russet to bronze.
- 'Tricolor' (Tricolor European Beech) - see above, ('Roseo-marginata').
- 'Zlatia' (Zlatia European Beech) - new leaves yellowing fading to green in summer.
- sylvatica: of the woods
- Oregon State Univ. campus: several trees on the north side of Waldo Hall.