Crystal Bridges will temporarily close through April 17 to support efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. Follow our updates.

Common Name: American Beech

Botanical Name: Fagus grandifolia

Family: Fagaceae

Zone: 4-9

Height: 50-70′

Spread: 25-50′

Bloom Time: April, May

Bloom Description: The reddish-male flowers hang on a slender stalk, while the yellowish-female flowers hang at the end of a short stalk. The flowers are not an attraction of the tree, but they do give rise to the fruit, which is a bur with 2, 3-sided nuts inside it. The fruit can be collected from October-November.

Trail/Garden Location: Planted along the Art Trail. Several colonies in the valleys along the Tulip Tree Trail and West Bank occurred prior to construction. There is a document that suggests that Dr. Neil Compton (previous owner of the land before the Walton Family) obtained 700 American Beech saplings. The colonies may be a product of his tireless efforts to conserve native plants. Either way, we are delighted to display this amazing native tree.

Garden Uses: A medium-sized tree, it is best used as a canopy tree. Although growth is quite slow, this tree is worth it. The attractive, gray bark and light green leaves are paired nicely with the low, horizontal limb structure. The tree prefers a fertile, moist soil in full to partial sun.

Wildlife Benefits: The nuts provide food for quail, wood duck, and purple finches, just to name a few.

Leaf Type: The light green, oval leaves have blunt serrations and turn beautiful gold in fall. The lower leaves remain attached during winter and fade to a nice wheat color. The leaves remain attached until the new growth emerges in the spring.