Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

AMERICAN BEECH
Fagus grandifolia
Fagaceae

Leaves are simple, alternate, deciduous, elliptical in shape, and coarsely serrate with parallel lateral veins running to the margin teeth. Dead leaves persist on twigs over the winter. Twigs are slender, gray, and zigzag with long, pointed, yellow-brown, "cigar" buds. Bark is blue-gray, thin and smooth. Fruit is a brown triangular nut enclosed in a spiny bur. American beech is found on fertile, mesic sites in the eastern U.S. and is very tolerant of shade. The hard wood is used for furniture and turnery. Nuts are eaten by turkey, waterfowl and many small to large mammals. Planted as an ornamental. Form is up to 30 m (100 ft) in height and 1.3 m (4 ft) in diameter with a low wide crown.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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