Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.

American Beech

Fagus grandifolia plant

Family - Fagaceae

Stems - No info yet.

Fagus grandifolia barkBark.

Fagus grandifolia budWinter bud.

Leaves - No info. yet.

Fagus grandifolia leafWinter leaf.

Fagus grandifolia winterTree in winter.

Inflorescence - No info. yet.

Flowers - No info. yet.

Fagus grandifolia fruitFruit close-up.

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Sand, gravel or clay soils, ravines, slopes, small valleys bordering streams and springs.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species, commonly called "Beech", reaches the western edge of its geographic range in southeastern Missouri. This is an easy species to identify because of its smooth grey bark, buttressing base, and serrate leaves. The long, pointed winter buds are another good characteristic for identification. The soft-bristled fruits, which split open at maturity, contain two seeds. The seeds are distinctly 3-sided, with one side being perfectly flat.
Beech trees grow to +40m tall but the wood is not typically sold as lumber. Beech wood is usually used to make small tool handles, barrels, clothespins, spoons, etc.
The nuts of this tree are edible and sweet, they are best when roasted a bit before eating.
Natives used a tea made of the bark to cure burns, frostbite, lung ailments, and poison ivy rash. They also chewed the raw nuts as a worm repellent.

Photographs taken at Pictured Rocks National Seashore, MI., 7-23-02, and in Brown Summit, NC., 1-21-03.