Common beech

Fagus sylvatica | Also known as: European beech | Rating: 3 votes | Print / Pdf

The common beech when left to its own devices can reach 50m in height! Alternatively, if you haven’t got that sort of room in your garden, you can shape it into a beautiful hedge.

Fagus sylvatica is commonly called Common beech or European beech. It's a large deciduous tree that can grow up to 160ft tall. It has yellowy green leaves that turn to reddish brown in the autumn. It has small catkin flowers, then the beechnuts appear. These are eaten by birds and rodents, and historically by humans too, although they can be toxic if too many are eaten. In the 19th Century the nuts were pressed to create oil for cooking and lamp light, and also ground into flour. The timber of the beech tree is very fine and easy to work with so it's often used in the production of furniture.

Rate it:
Known dangers?
  • no
Height [m]
  • 25 - 30
Spread [m]
  • 25 - 30
Dominant flower colour
  • Inconspicuous or absent
Flower Fragrance
  • No, neutral please
Foliage in spring
  • Yellow-green
Foliage in summer
  • Green
Foliage in Autumn
  • Brown or bronze
Propagation methods
  • grafting
  • seed
Growth habit
  • Spreading
  • Acidic
  • Neutral
  • Alkaline
Hardiness zone
  • Z4-7
Heat zone
  • H7-4
Winter temperatures [°C]
  • -34 - -12
Heat days
  • 14 - 90
  • well-drained
  • well-drained but frequently watered
Soil type
  • sandy
  • chalky
  • loams
Sun requirements
  • Partial shade
  • Sheltered
Standard category
  • Trees & shrubs
  • Trees
Grown for
  • Ornamental foliage, habit and autumn colour
Creative category
  • For Beginners
  • Show-offs
  • Bonsai
  • Neighbour repellant
Garden type
  • Woodland
  • Park
Garden spaces
  • Specimen
  • Pleeching
  • Hedges and screens
Gardening expertise
  • beginner
Time to reach full size
  • 30 years or longer
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