Botanical Name: Fagus sylvatica (Atropurpurea Group)
Common Name: Purple Beech
Origin: Central Europe
Location: CNW, CSE, KN
Notable Feature: Purple Beech belongs to a group of European beeches that possess purple-colored foliage but still exhibit the same distinctive, smooth, gray bark of the species. The leaves add a colorful contrast to the landscape and the bark provides beautiful winter interest.
Habit: A tall, spreading, deciduous tree, reaching 50 to 60 feet high with a 30 to 45-foot
spread. It is a low-branched tree, with its trunk ranging from 2 to 3 feet in diameter and it is recognized by its smooth, light grey bark.
Flower: Yellow-green flowers bloom in April to May as leaves emerge. Monoecious, male flowers occur in drooping, long-stemmed, globular clusters and the female flowers on shorter spikes.
Fruit: Triangular nuts which ripen in fall and are edible. The 1” wide beechnuts are a shiny brown and found in pairs within a woody husk covered with spines.
Foliage: Lustrous, dark purple leaves with wavy margins turn a coppery red in fall. The alternate foliage is ovate to elliptical in shape and 2 to 4” long. The leaves of beech often remain on the tree until spring.
Interesting Fact: Brought by European colonists in the 1700s and has maintained its popularity as an ornamental shade tree ever since. Ecologically, the nuts and leaves of beech trees provide food for numerous species of animals which include ruffed grouse, wild turkeys, raccoons, red/gray foxes, white tail deer, rabbits, squirrels, opossums, pheasants, black bears, and porcupines.