American Beech - <em>Fagus grandifolia</em> - Zone 3b -

American Beech - Fagus grandifolia - Zone 3b

This tree is indigenous to the eastern regions of North America.  It is a deciduous tree that produces edible nuts. It is particularly well adapted to living in shady environs.

1-3 Feetsold-out$20.00$0.00
3-5 Feetsold-out$25.00$0.00

The Tree

Beech is a slow growing tree that shows up at the climax of forest development. Its lifespan is generally at least 200 years and can reach all the way up to 400 years. At maturity they can measure up to 25 meters in height and have a crown up to 18 meters wide. This tree is very tolerant of shade but does not grow well in wet soils. It can endure temperatures between -42 and 38⁰ C but prefer locales with milder summers.  As a climax species in the forest beeches are often found alongside sugar maples, red oak, and hemlock. The blue-grey colour of its bark and its eye-shaped knots render it easily identifiable. Another highly distinguishing characteristic is that its leaves remain attached through the whole winter. Its fruit, nuts referred to as beechnuts or beechmast grow within a spiky husk generally containing 2 nuts. Beeches are one of the few northern deciduous tree that produce nuts. Its genus name fagus is derived from the greek 'to eat' in reference to these nuts.

Its Uses

In addition to their beauty, beeches are highly valuable to the ecosystem and the animals of the forest. Their nuts can be dried for consumption and have a delicately sweet flavor. In addition the nuts can be used to extract edible oil, or ground and made into flour. The wood of beech is extremely hard and strong and is used in the fabrication of floors, containers and furniture. It also serves as a material for wooden tools. It is additionally highly valued as firewood due to its density and the intense heat it produces when burned.  It is possible to use the cinders of beech wood to produce lye, a base element in the soap-making process. The oil extracted by heating the wood was at one time used medicinally as an expectorant, disinfectant and laxative

Height at maturity18-25 metres (60-80 feet)
Spacing9 metres (30 feet)
Hardiness zone3b
SoilWell drained
Sun / shadeAdaptable, tolerant of shade
FloweringApril, May
HarvestLate September
Average fruit weight
Fruit colorBrown shell / White-Cream nut
Years to bear fruit40
PollinationSelf-sterile, needs to be paired with another
Latin nameFagus grandifolia
Average diameter of fruit10 x 8 mm
Also known as