oblong, elliptic, obovate, ovate
brown, green, yellow
March, April, May, September, October
A very large tree with smooth gray bark and alternate, simple leaves with straight veins that are retained after death on juvenile branches and getting very crispy when dead. The twigs are gray, zigzagged and have very long terminal bud that are “cigar-shaped” and stipule scars that nearly circle the twig. Its nuts are borne in spiny burrs and are triangular in cross section. Its smooth bark is often covered with lichen.
Beech nuts are eaten by many forms of wildlife. The tree provides cover and nesting sites. Birds, mammals, and rodents eat the fruit, and deer eat the browse and fruit. It was the tree most associated with the extinct Passenger Pigeon, which fed on its nuts and roosted in its branches.
Moist or wet lowland sites, rich hardwood forests, especially on well drained soils on slopes and along streams.
Excellent quality wood, cooperage, furniture, but unattractive grain. Tree is popular for carving initials in as the bark doesn’t change much with age. American beech is used for lumber, veneer, ties, pulpwood, slack cooperage, and fuel. The lumber in re-manufactured into boxes, crates, baskets, furniture, handles, flooring, millwork, novelties, and food containers. In furniture, it is used in cheap, unfinished pieces, bent stock, and chair backs and rungs.