The Beech collection began in 1954 with just four specimens of European and American Beech. Since that time the collection has expanded and now features 18 different species of Beech. There is a great deal of variance among species in the Beech collection, from purple or multicolored foliage to slender, weeping, pendulous, or contorted forms.
The European Beech is the most frequently cultivated species and represents the majority of unusual and distinct forms of that are in production in the nursery market. One of the most striking specimens in the Beech collection is the contorted European Beech, or Fagus sylvatica ‘Tortuosa’. Its thick trunk, contorted branches, and weeping purple foliage stand out among the rest of the collection. This specimen can be viewed in the arboretum loop as you pass the Garden Pavilion on the left.
The American Beech, Fagus grandifolia, is native to Kentucky and has a long history of use in the United States. Prior to colonization, vast groves of American Beech covered the Ohio valley. Because of their specific growth needs, the American Beech served as an indicator of good farm land and was logged heavily by settlers to make room for crops. Historically, American Beech timber was used as a fuel source for fireplaces, the leaves were used for stuffing mattresses, and the ash was used to make soap. Today, it is used to make household items such as utensils, clothespins, and furniture.
Come visit these and other Beech specimens as we celebrate our 90th anniversary here at Bernheim!
- Fagus crenata (Japanese beech)
- Fagus engleriana (Chinese beech)
- Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Ansorgii’ (thread leaf European beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Atropunicia’ (purple European beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Borneyensis’ (Borneyensis European beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Cristata’ (cock’s comb European beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Dawyck Gold’ (columnar European beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Tortusa’ (contorted European beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Spaethiana’ (Spaeth purple European beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Lanciata’ (cut leaf European beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’ (weeping European beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Purple Fountain’ (Purple Fountain European beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Riversii’ (River’s purple European beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Rohanii’ (cut leaf purple European beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Rotundifolia’ (round leaf European beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Tortuosa’ (contorted European beech)
- Fagus sylvatica ‘Tricolor’ (Tricolor European beech)
In 2019, Bernheim celebrates 90 years of connecting people with nature. At over 25 square miles, Bernheim is the largest privately held forest dedicated to conservation and education in the region. Our arboretum is home to plant collections of over 8,000 varieties, public art, and educational programming for thousands of students. Our pristine forest hosts hikers and outdoor adventures alongside research and conservation projects which will serve to protect the environment for future generations.
As a 100% member and donor supported organization, we could not fulfill this important mission without you. We hope you’ll continue to support our efforts throughout the next 90 years. Join or donate by clicking here.