American Beech

Fagus grandifolia

Copyright, Mark Brand, UConn Plant Database

American Beech are fairly large trees, usually up to 80 feet tall. Trunks can grow up to 2 1/2 feet wide.

American Beech grow in forests with other trees, such as oaks, pines, and hickories. They can also grow in a pure stand (group of the same type of tree).

Copyright, Mark Brand, UConn Plant Database

Copyright, Mark Brand, UConn Plant Database

American Beech leaves grow up to five inches long. they are ovate (shaped like an oval) with a pointed tip. Leaves have short stalks and saw-toothed edges. They are a dull dark green on top and light green on the bottom. American Beech leaves turn yellow-brown in the Fall.

Hugh Wilson

Donald R. Farrar, Trees and Shrubs of the Campus of Iowa State University

American Beech flowers are clustered together in a one inch yellow ball. The fruits are about 3/4 inch long and prickly. These fruits split into four pieces in the Fall.

The bark of this tree is light gray and smooth. It stays smooth when it gets older.

The fruit, called Beechnuts, are an important food source for many animals, including: Red Fox, Raccoon, Virginia Opossum, squirrels, Eastern Chipmunk, Beaver, White-tailed Deer, Eastern Cottontail, mice, Wild Turkey, Bluejay, Northern Bobwhite, woodpeckers, ducks, and others.

American Beech provide cover for many animals, and are a favorite nesting site of chickadees.

This tree can tolerate shade, and is often found growing under the trees listed above, as well as maples and Yellow Poplar.

Donald R. Farrar, Trees and Shrubs of the Campus of Iowa State University

Copyright, Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Parasitic fungi probably bother American Beech more than any other tree. Mossy Maze Polypore, Artist's Conk, Tinder Polypore, Flecked-Flesh Polypore, Bearded Tooth, Northern Tooth, and Honey Mushrooms are just a few which are parasites of this tree.

Insect pests of this tree include Gypsy Moths, Tent Caterpillar Moths, aphids, and scale insects.

This tree spreads by animals, such as squirrels and Bluejays, eating the fruit before pooping out the seeds in a new location.

American Beech can live for well over 300 years.

Relationships in Nature:

Animals Using as Food Source

Animals Using as Shelter

Associations With Other Plants


Wild Turkey

Carolina Chickadee

Black Oak

Honey Mushroom Pa

Red Fox

Eastern Gray Squirrel

White Oak

Artist's Conk Pa


Luna Moth

American Hornbeam

Pileated Woodpecker D

Blue Jay

Big Brown Bat

Eastern White Pine

Turkey Tail Pa

Downy Woodpecker

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Yellow Poplar

Blue Jay D

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Dogday Harvestfly

Red Maple

Eastern Gray Squirrel D

White-tailed Deer


Black Cherry

White-breasted Nuthatch D

Eastern Chipmunk

True Katydid

Mockernut Hickory

Eastern Chipmunk D



Indian Pipe

Mossy Maple Polypore Pa

Eastern Cottontail

Tufted Titmouse

Witch Hazel

Japanese Honeysuckle Pa

Northern Bobwhite

Downy Woodpecker


Oyster Mushroom Pa

Wood Duck

Polyphemus Moth

Poison Ivy

Oystershell Scale Pa

White-footed Mouse

Oystershell Scale

American Holly

Dogwood Borer P a

Oystershell Scale

Dogwood Borer

Smooth Sumac

Emetic Russula My

Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth

Bald-faced Hornet

Wild Grape

Indian Pipe Pa

Tufted Titmouse

Sharp-shinned Hawk


Luna Moth

Loblolly Pine

Carolina Chickadee

Common Reed

Eastern Subterranean Termite

Tussock Sedge

Dogwood Borer

Black Locust

Relationship to Humans:

American Beech is often planted as a shade tree or landscape tree on lawns and in parks. Its nuts are edible for humans. Wood of this tree is used for flooring, furniture, plywood, railroad ties, and firewood.


Fagus grandifolia


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