Fagus sylvatica var. heterophylla 'Aspleniifolia'
Common Name: European beech 
Type: Tree
Family: Fagaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 40.00 to 60.00 feet
Spread: 40.00 to 60.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Yellowish-green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Deer


Best grown in deep, rich, moist but well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Intolerant of wet, poorly drained soils. Some drought tolerance once established. Difficult to transplant. Plants do not always grow well in urban settings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Fagus sylvatica is commonly called European beech or common beech. It is a large deciduous tree typically growing to 50-60’ (less frequently to 100’) tall with a dense, upright-oval to rounded-spreading crown. It is native to woodlands in central and southern Europe. It is a low-branched tree featuring ovate to elliptic, lustrous dark green leaves (to 4” long) with mostly toothless margins and prominent parallel veins. Monoecious yellowish green flowers bloom in April-May, the male flowers in drooping, long-stemmed, globular clusters and the female flowers in short spikes. Female flowers give way to triangular edible beechnuts enclosed by spiny bracts.

Var. hetrophylla has leaves cut into slender lobes.

Genus name comes from the Latin name.

Specific epithet means of the woods or forest.

‘Aspleniifolia’ is a cut leaved cultivar that features narrow, lanceolate, feathery, fine textured, fern-like, dark green leaves that are deeply dissected into slender lobes. Leaves turn golden brown in fall. Trees typically mature to 40-60’ tall and as wide. Cultivar name is in reference to the resemblance of the leaves to spleenwort fern (Asplenium).


No serious insect or disease problems. Beach scale is an occasional problem. Watch for Japanese beetles. Stressed trees may be attacked by borers.


Excellent shade tree.

Ornamental fern-leaved specimen.