University of Tennessee
Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
Our Center Home Page Arboretum Home Page

American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

American Beech Fall Leaves American Beech is found throughout the forests of eastern North America. During the winter months, it is readily identifiable along our Arboretum trails with its smooth gray bark and golden brown leaves. Beech trees are especially prevalent along the Tulip Poplar Trail, the White Pine trail, and Rockpile Lead. The alternate, serrate (saw-toothed) leaves have straight, parallel veins, each ending at the tip of a tooth on the leaf margin. The leaves frequently persist until the onset of spring when they become dull brown and are shed as the distinctive spear-shaped buds expand.

American Beech American Beech flowers in April, with the fruits (beechnuts) maturing in late summer. The spiny fruit husk (bur) contains two (sometimes three) nuts, which are eaten by many birds and mammals. Beech mast is not abundant every year, but rather it is produced at intervals of 2 to 8 years. Beech wood is used for such purposes as flooring, furniture, plywood, and railroad ties. Its high density and good burning qualities make it a favored firewood. Creosote from Beech wood has a variety of medicinal applications. American colonists used its leaves for mattress stuffing.

Return to Tree List

University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: