Fagus grandifolia

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: American beech 
Type: Tree
Family: Fagaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 50.00 to 80.00 feet
Spread: 40.00 to 80.00 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, Black Walnut


Best grown in deep, rich, moist but well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Intolerant of wet, poorly drained soils. Difficult to transplant and does not always grow well in urban settings. In the wild, beeches often form thickets or colonies by suckering from the shallow roots.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Fagus grandifolia, commonly called American beech, is native to eastern North America. It is a large deciduous tree typically growing to 50-80’ (less frequently to 120’) tall with a dense, upright-oval to rounded-spreading crown. In Missouri, it occurs in rich woods of ravines, slopes and valleys only in the far southeastern corner of the state (Steyermark). It is a low-branched tree with its mature trunk ranging from 2-3’ (less frequently 4’) in diameter. Trunks have distinctive thin, smooth, gray bark. Ovate to elliptic dark green leaves (to 5” long) have coarse, widely-spaced marginal teeth and prominent parallel veins, each vein ending at the tip of a marginal tooth. Foliage turns golden bronze in fall. 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 nuts enclosed by spiny bracts. Beechnuts ripen in fall and are edible.

Genus name comes from the Latin name.

Specific epithet means large-leaved.


No serious insect or disease problems. Beech scale is an occasional problem.


A large tree for a large space. Large lawns. Parks.