American Beech - Fagus grandifolia
Common Name: American beech
Hardiness Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 50 to 80 ft
Width: 40 to 80 ft
Description: American beech is a large, deciduous tree that may reach heights of up to 120 feet in the wild. This maximum height is far less likely in an urban setting, where 50 to 80 feet is typical. It was recognized by European colonists as being similar to the well-known European beech, giving it its name. Similar to European beech, American beech produces edible beechnuts that are consumed heavily by a variety of wildlife species. Squirrels, raccoons, and black bears are some of the most common species to be found in areas that are populated by Fagus grandifolia.
A distinguishing characteristic of the species is the retention of smooth bark in old age. The smooth, straight bole is easily recognizable in contrast with the often rough bark of neighboring species. Ovate to elliptical leaves will turn golden bronze in the fall. Yellowish-green flowers appear in the spring, but are not particularly showy. They dense foliage and low branching structure of American beech makes it a visually appealing shade tree, the main barrier to more frequent urban use being its size.
'Fagus grandifolia'. Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=a865. Accessed 10 June 2018.
'Fagus grandifolia'. Larry Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - University of Texas at Austin. https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=fagr. Accessed 10 June 2018.