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Copper beech Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea'

Other Common Name(s):

Description

Copper beech 'Purpurea' is a large deciduous tree in the Fagaceae (beech) family and is native to Europe. This tree can grow 60-80 feet tall and 40-60 feet wide with a rounded to pyramidal crown. The leaves start out in spring purple but become green in the summer. Fall color is yellow to copper. The fall nuts are edibles by humans and wildlife. 

Purple Beach does best planted in fertile well-drained moist soil in full sun to part shade. It doesn't tolerate wet soils. Use this tree as a specimen or shade tree. They do not like to be transplanted or crowded so give it plenty of room. The branches tend to grow tangled and cross each other so some pruning is helpful.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No major problems but planted in a too wet environment they are prone to fungal diseases. Watch for aphids and powdery mildew and leaf spot.

VIDEO created by Ryan Contreras for “Landscape Plant Materials I:  Deciduous Hardwoods and Conifers or Landscape Plant Materials II:  Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#shade tree#specimen#purple leaves#large tree#food source wildlife#edible fruits#deciduous tree#green leaves#fall color#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#shade tree#specimen#purple leaves#large tree#food source wildlife#edible fruits#deciduous tree#green leaves#fall color#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Fagus
    Species:
    sylvatica
    Family:
    Fagaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe
    Wildlife Value:
    Mammals and birds eat the fruits
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Nuts are edible
    Dimensions:
    Height: 60 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 40 ft. 0 in. - 56 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are triangular nuts with spiny coverings
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small catkins in the spring
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Entire
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    2- 4 inch long leaves are purple in the spring and turn green as the season progresses. In fall they are copperish. They are ovate to elliptical in shape with entire to create to undulate margins and parallel veins. Trees tend to hold onto their leaves through winter.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Bark Description:
    Smooth thin grey bark that can be easily damaged.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Smooth gray to brown stems
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals