Fagus sylvatica (European Beech)

Michael's Opinion

A spectacular tree that is very long lived under ideal conditions in the landscape. A broad canopied tree, this species must be given room to grow. Smooth grey bark, glossy, thin green leaves that can sometimes persist into the winter months on the tree after turning to a tawny brown.

Botanical Information

TypeTree (deciduous)
OriginNative to Europe.


USDA Hardiness Zone4 - 7
USDA Hardiness Ref.
Canadian Hardiness Zone2a - 7a
Canada Hardiness Ref.
RHS Hardiness ZoneH5 - H7
RHS Hardiness Ref.
Temperature (°C)-35 -(-12)
Temperature (°F)-30 - 10
Height15 - 18 m
Spread11 - 15 m
Flowering PeriodApril

Description and Growing Information

General DescriptionA noble large tree which requires well drained soil. Tolerates moist soils, including chalk. Leaves turn golden-copper in autumn. When trimmed as hedge retains brown leaves through the winter.
ID CharacteristicAn immense tree, casting deep shade reaching 31 m in height. Smooth grey bark.
ShapeDensely pyramidal to oval or rounded.
LandscapeHedging & screen low maintenance.
PropagationSeed should be stratified for 3 - 5 months at 5C or autumn sown.
CultivationGrow in well-drained soil in partial shade.
PestsCoral spot.
Notable SpecimensWeldon Library, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. Niagara Parks, Botanical Gardens, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (Hedge and mature trees). The University of Guelph Arboretum, Guelph, Ontario, Canada (Hedge).
Bark DescriptionGrey, smooth and usually develops an elephant hide appearance on old trunks.
Bud DescriptionImbricate, slender 2 - 2.5 cm long, brown and shiny.
Leaf DescriptionAlternate, simple and 2 - 4 cm long. Acute, broadly cuneate or rounded at base, obscurely toothed and undulate. Lustrous dark green above and light green beneath.
Flower DescriptionMonoecious, male and female are separate on the same tree. Pistillate in 2 - 4 flowered spikes.
Fruit DescriptionTriangular nuts, hard, woody, 4-lobed husk covered with bristles and borne singly, standing erect.
Colour DescriptionLeaf colour is a shimmering green unmatched by any other tree, gradually changes to a lustrous dark green in summer and followed by golden bronze colours in autumn.
Texture DescriptionFine when first leafing out, otherwise of medium texture in full foliage and winter.