Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: American Beech
Fagus grandifolia

Family: Fagaceae (fag-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Fagus (FAG-us) (Info)
Species: grandifolia (gran-dih-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Fagus americana

6 vendors have this plant for sale.

7 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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By kennedyh
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By melody
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There are a total of 34 photos.
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9 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Feb 25, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

One of our most beautiful native trees, I love to encounter a mature stand in the forest. This species is much more inclined to root-sucker than the european beech, and so less suited to a designed landscape.

Positive Rickwebb On Dec 19, 2013, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

Lovely shade tree that is one of the dominant forest trees in climax woods of southeast PA. I've seen a good number in northwest Indiana and east central Indiana too. Sometimes found in residential yards. I've seen it doing well in barely acid soils, as those of the limestone derived soils around Downingtown, PA. It has lighter gray bark than the European Beech and larger leaves, and much fewer cultivars. It is not as adaptable as the European species to refined landscapes with lawn and more alkaline pH reaction. I remember an American and an European planted next to each other in lawn in Urbana, Illinois on the campus of the University of ILL; both were doing well. I think the American is more beautiful and should be preferred in naturalistic American landscapes. I discourage many Eurasian woody plants in North America and visa versa, due to poorer ecology and the possibility of exotic plants going invasive.

Positive lahomesteader On Nov 24, 2010, lahomesteader from Loranger, LA wrote:

Beautiful tree. Range extends to Robert, Louisiana, where there is stil a local remnant of the Beech/Magnolia climax community remaining.

Positive Andyrew On Aug 1, 2009, Andyrew from Sanbornville, NH wrote:

The photo of the leaf I posted is from a tree that was found growing on a friend's property. About half the tree is variegated. Recently I found a similarly variegated beech in the woods near my home. It's a younger tree and all it's leaves are variegated.

Positive famartin On Aug 25, 2007, famartin from Trenton, NJ wrote:

One of this species self-seeded next to a fence near the property line. Hoping that it will replace two ugly Silver Maples which were removed a year ago. Grows well, but seems to need watching to ensure it maintains a single leader in the sun.

Positive claypa On May 29, 2007, claypa from West Pottsgrove, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Young Beeches are easy to spot in the winter because they tend not to lose all their leaves. They are very shade tolerant and very slow growing but can live for hundreds of years. A twenty inch in diameter tree could be 250 years old.

Positive Bexter On Aug 31, 2006, Bexter from Woods Hole, MA wrote:

The initials we carved in our childhood are gone now, 20 years later. They got healed over and smoothed over and blurred, and are now gone.

Positive melody On May 8, 2006, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

One of the most beautiful trees in the forest, the striking light, slick bark stands out among other trees.

These trees can grow to be very large and are long-lived.

It produces edible fruits in the fall known as beech nuts. Deer and other wildlife love them.

The trunks are favorites of sweethearts for carving initials into them, as the carving is easy to do on the smooth surface and they are preserved indefinitely.

Positive raisedbedbob On Jan 31, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Leaf: Alternate, simple, elliptical to oblong-ovate, 2 1/2 to 5 1/2 inches long, pinnately-veined, 11-14 pairs of veins, with each vein ending in a sharp distinct tooth, shiny green above, very waxy and smooth, slightly paler below.

Flower: Monoecious; male flowers borne on globose heads hanging from a slender 1 inch stalk, female flowers borne on shorter spikes, appearing just after leaves in the spring.

Fruit: Nuts are irregularly triangular, shiny brown and edible, found in pairs within a woody husk covered with spines, 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, maturing in the fall.

Twig: Very slender, zigzag, light brown in color; buds are long (3/4 inch), light brown, and slender, covered with overlapping scales (best described as "cigar-shaped"), widely divergent from the stems, almost looking like long thorns.

Bark: The bark is smooth, thin, and gray in color even on the largest stems. Beech bark diseases severely deforms the smooth bark.

Form: A medium to large tree up to 100 feet tall with a rounded crown. Often found in thickets produced by root suckering. Old trees may be surrounded by a ring of young beech.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Deatsville, Alabama
New Market, Alabama
Spanish Fort, Alabama
Washington, District Of Columbia
Savannah, Georgia
Suwanee, Georgia
Crawfordsville, Indiana
Michigan City, Indiana
Benton, Kentucky
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Nicholasville, Kentucky
Loranger, Louisiana
Vienna, Maine
Annapolis, Maryland
Baltimore, Maryland
Valley Lee, Maryland
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Florence, Mississippi
Golden, Mississippi
Trenton, New Jersey
Cohocton, New York
Syracuse, New York
Statesville, North Carolina
Walnut Cove, North Carolina
Xenia, Ohio
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania
Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania
Charleston, South Carolina
Salem, South Carolina
Dickson, Tennessee
Orem, Utah
Eagle Rock, Virginia
Falling Waters, West Virginia
Colgate, Wisconsin

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