Virtual Discovery Station: Native Trees Series, Part 8 – American Beech

By Wren Smith

 American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

beech bark

While beech trees (Fagus grandifolia) are often prominent shade tolerant trees found in moist hardwood sections of Bernheim, they seem to be proliferating even in some dried upland areas of the forest these days. Beech trees are easy to identify by their gray bark, which is usually silky smooth but occasionally very wrinkled to resemble an elephant’s hide. Like most other member of the Fagaceae (oak) family, beech trees hang on to their leaves very late into the winter or early spring.

Winter bud of American beech. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Beech trees have very lance like winter buds and the branches get progressively finer near the crown of the tree.

Additional Resources
Tales from the Bent Twig Trail: More Barking

Bernheim’s Beech Collection

The Feast on the Forest Floor


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