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Fagus

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
FAY-gus
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Beech is a deciduous tree native to temperate Europe, Asia, and North America. There are 10 to 13 species in two distinct subgenera, Engleriana and Fagus. The subgenera Fagus is the one native to North America and Europe and Engleriana is native to Asia.

The subgenera Fagus are high-branching with tall, stout trunks and smooth silver-grey bark. The flowers are separate male and female flowers and appear in spring. In fall the flowers are followed by the fruit called beechnuts and are edible.

Plant in well-drained fertile soils in full sun to partial shade. These trees are suitable as a shade tree for homes, parks, libraries, etc.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
F. crenata, F. engleriana, F. grandifolia, F. sylvatica
Tags:
#shade tree#poisonous#lawn tree#NC native#edible fruits#parks#mammals#birds#recreational areas
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
F. crenata, F. engleriana, F. grandifolia, F. sylvatica
Tags:
#shade tree#poisonous#lawn tree#NC native#edible fruits#parks#mammals#birds#recreational areas
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Fagus
    Family:
    Fagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Nuts are pressed for oils. The wood is used in construction and for firewood.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, Asia and North America
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruits are eaten by mammals and birds.
    Edibility:
    Nutmeats, in small quantities, edible raw or cooked. Young leaves can be cooked for greens in the spring.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit, known as beechnuts or mast, is found in small burrs that drop in autumn. They are small, roughly triangular and edible, usually bitter taste.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Insignificant
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The female flowers are borne in pairs, the male flowers in wind-pollinating catkins in spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The alternate leaves vary depending on the species and can be oval to lance-shaped with or without toothed margins and sometimes wavy margins. Fall color varies also.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Bark Description:
    Smooth gray bark
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Can cause stomach upset if eaten raw or unripe.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Saponic glycoside
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Seeds