Trees of Wisconsin

Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.
American beech
Family: Fagaceae
winter leaves
leaves may remain in winter

Large Fagus grandifolia trees are easily recognized by the smooth, gray bark. Leaves are alternate and simple with long tapering tips and conspicuous widely-spaced teeth. The terminal buds are very long with numerous scales and, to those familiar with them, are easily recognized even in the absence of leaves. The sharply angled nuts are produced within a bur-like structure comprised of bracts. Leaves turn yellow and then brown in the fall and young trees (but usually not mature trees) characteristically hold their leaves well into, if not entirely through, winter.

Fagus grandifolia does best in well drained upland sites, often with Acer saccharum. At least some of the roots are very shallow and sprouts often originate from roots at considerable distance from the parent tree. It is distributed throughout eastern North America from the maritime provinces of Canada to northern Florida and west to Louisiana, eastern Illinois and Wisconsin. In Wisconsin Fagus grandifolia is limited to the eastern portion of the state, mostly east of Lake Winnebago in the south and ranging north to Shawano, Forest and Marinette counties.

known Wisconsin distribution


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