Skip to content

European Beech

Fagus sylvatica

Leaves: Deciduous. Leaves are elliptic in shape 2 to 4 inches long, 1 to 2 inches wide with a blunt point at the end. Leaf edges are slightly wavy and usually smooth but sometimes lightly toothed. Dark, shiny green in the late spring to summer. One of the later trees to leaf out in early summer. Leaves turn bronze or rich red-oranges in the fall.

Bark/Twigs: Smooth gray bark. Bark remains a smooth, light grey even in maturity. Twigs distinctly zigzag from bud to bud.

Flowers/Fruit: Inconspicuous flowers in late spring. Small nut in 4-part capsule. Triangular beech nuts grow in pairs inside prickly husks.

Mature size and shape: Large. 50 to 60 feet high x 35 to 45 feet wide. Rounded, or oval shape. Branches start low, almost at the ground on the trunk.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun. Shade tolerant. Moist, well-drained acidic soil is best. Dislikes standing water. Struggles in extreme heat and low humidity.

Landscape use and maintenance: Large, good shade or specimen tree. Recommended for public areas and better suited for Utah's growing conditions than the American beech. Slow to medium growing rate. Average maintenance.

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 to 7

Family/Origin: Fagaceae - Beech and Oak. Native to Europe.

Campus Use: Somewhat common. Can be found southeast in President's Circle and west of the Sill Center (Bld 51).

Last Updated: 6/3/22