Beech trees (botanical name Fagus) are one of the most commonly found trees in Connecticut’s native forests. These beautiful shade trees have lime green leaves and a dense canopy that gives the tree a rounded shape. In spring, beech trees produce small clusters of yellow-green flowers that are followed by beech tree fruit or beechnuts. In autumn, the leaves turn from green to beautiful autumn shades of orange, yellow, and golden brown.
There are 13 species of beech trees, most of which belong to the genus Fagus. The most common types of beech trees in Connecticut are:
- the American beech tree (Fagus grandifolia) and
- the European beech tree (Fagus sylvatica), including the ornamental copper or purple beech.
Beech trees are easy-care, versatile trees that thrive in a range of conditions, although they prefer rich, fertile soil with excellent drainage. As a beautiful landscape tree, beech tree varieties are relatively resistant to pests, disease, and deer.
This article will help you identify beech trees by looking at their size, leaves, flowers, fruit, and bark.
Beech trees in Connecticut are facing a deadly infection by Beech Leaf Disease. See if your tree has Beech Leaf Disease and what to do if it does.
How to Recognize a Beech Tree
Loss of Leaves in Winter
Beech trees are deciduous. They lose their leaves in the fall and grow new leaves in the spring.
Beech trees are tall (they can grow up to 40 to 60 feet), with a dense, rounded crown of leaves.
Smooth Gray Bark
Beech tree bark is smooth and light gray. As the tree matures, the bark can become more rugged, depending on the type. Ridges that look like shallow horizontal cracks can develop on the trunk over time.
Leaf Shape & Color
Young beech leaves are light or lime green. They turn a glossy dark green in summer. In fall, the leaves turn orange, yellow, or brown.
The leaf shape is described as “ovate to elliptical” (a little like a cross between an oval and a diamond) with a pointed tip. Beech leaves can be 2 to 6 inches long and up to 4 inches wide.
Beach leaf veins run parallel to each other from one end of the leaf to the other. Leaf edges are ridged or toothed.
Beech trees tend to have a lot of leaves, which is why they make such great shade trees.
Beech trees have spring flowers that appear after the new leaves emerge in spring. But don’t let the word “flowers” fool you; they’re actually yellowish-green catkins.
Beech tree fruit, or beechnuts, are brown, triangular, and contained in spiky husks.