names: American beech, beech, gray beech, red beech, white beech.
Synonyms: Fagus grandifolia Ehrhart ssp. heterophylla
Campdera, Fagus grandifolia Ehrhart var. caroliniana
(Loudon) Fernald & Rehder, Fagus grandifolia Ehrhart var.
Beech leaves are alternate and unlobed--but perhaps their most distinctive
feature is the straight veins, each ending in a point at the leaf
edge and looking like it was drawn with a ruler. Related to the oaks,
beeches have inconspicuous flowers and nut that are borne in spiny
capsules. The bark is smooth and gray--and was often used for the
carving of initials and other messages, but don't be a tree-graffiti
artist! Leave the beautiful trunk for others to admire. From mid-summer
to the following spring, the buds are also distinctive--long, narrow,
and sharp pointed. The leaves turn a gold brown in the autumn, and
tend to remain on the tree through the winter.
• Branchlet with
leaves • Individual
leaf • Branchlet
with buds • Close-up
of bud •