• Central Park Conservancy Logo

European Beech

European Beech Tree
Easily confused with the American beech, the European beech can be distinguished by a lack of teeth on the edge of its leaves. The European beech is highly variable and numerous cultivars can be seen in Central Park. The European beech thrives in urban park settings, whereas the native American beech does not. European beech fruits are spiky and grow only in singles, while American beech fruit may grow alone or in pairs, and even in triplicate. In spring, the leaves of the copper or purple beech glow in brilliant shades of crimson and wine. Don't miss the beautiful golden color of the European beech in fall.

Common Name: European Beech

Scientific Name: Fagus sylvatica

Origin: Europe

Family: Betulaceae

Size: 50 - 60' tall, up to 50' wide

Form: Broad pyramidal shape

Culture: Moist, well drained, acidic soil; thrives in full sun


Alternate arrangement, silky fringed with ciliate (group of hair-like organisms); five to nine pairs of leaf veins; golden bronze in fall


Bloom in April or early May


Triangular nut enclosed in a spiky involucre (small rosette of irregular leaves), found singly


Light gray, wrinkled appearance yet smooth to the touch, olive brown stems