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NC Native Plant Society:
Plant Details

Fagus grandifolia

American Beech, Gray Beech, Red Beech, White Beech

Scientific Name:

Fagus grandifolia

Genus:

Fagus

Species Epithet:

grandifolia

Common Name:

American Beech, Gray Beech, Red Beech, White Beech

Plant Type

Tree

Life Cycle

Perennial

Plant Family

Fagaceae (Beech Family)

Native/Alien:

NC Native

Invasive Status:

(*Key)

Size:

36-72 ft., 72-100 ft.

Bloom Color(s):

Brown

Light:

Sun - 6 or more hours of sun per day, Part Shade - 2 to 6 hours of sun per day, Less than 2 hours of sun per day

Soil Moisture:

Moist

Bloom Time:

March, April, May

Growing Area:

Mountains, Piedmont, Sandhills, Coastal Plain

Habitat Description:

Var. caroliniana: moist forests, from near sea level to low elevations in the Mountains, mostly below 1050 meters (3500 feet); common throughout NC. Blooms March to May.

Var. grandifolia: moderate to high elevation forests, especially on high elevation ridges, gaps, and open slopes, often forming clonal dwarfed thickets in the most exposed situations. Common in the NC mountains. Blooms April to May.

Leaf Arrangement:

Alternate

Leaf Retention:

Deciduous

Leaf Type:

Leaves veined, not needle-like or scale-like

Leaf Form:

Simple

Life Cycle:

Perennial

Wildlife Value:

Highest Wildlife Value

Landscape Value:

Suitable for home landscapes

State Rank:

S5: Secure (*Key)

Global Rank:

G5 - Secure (*Key)

Notes:

Smooth gray bark and golden fall foliage; holds onto its leaves late into the winter.

Weakley recognizes 2 varieties in NC, but notes that the taxonomy is complicated.

Mature tree illustrating smooth, gray bark

Orange County, NC

Bettina Darveaux

Young trees retain their senesced leaves throughout the winter

Orange County, NC

Bettina Darveaux

Close-up of branches in winter

Orange County, NC

Bettina Darveaux

Close up of terminal bud

Orange County, NC

Bettina Darveaux

Links:

USDA PLANTS Database Record

https://auth1.dpr.ncparks.gov/flora/species_account.php

https://nc.audubon.org/700

https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/fagus-grandifolia/

https://gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org/species/fagus/grandifolia/



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