Common Beech Overview
Fagus sylvatica is a large deciduous tree from the Fagaceae family, commonly known as Beech, Common Beech or European Beech. It can reach 40m in height, forming a spreading crown. It has attractive textured foliage which can be mistaken for Hornbeam, Carpinus betulus. Where the Fagus stands out against the Hornbeam is in its ability to retain its leaves during the winter in its juvenile stage. The oval leaves are coloured light green to yellow in spring, developing to green and later brown in autumn. They open from pointed, layered red-brown buds on short stems. The leaves measure between 4-9cm in length and have hairy, wavy edges. The bark is smooth and grey in colour. The leaves may not detach in winter. This makes the Fagus excel at being a hedging plant, as the trimming required to keep it as a hedge also keeps the Fagus in its juvenile stage, causing your hedge to turn a lovely golden brown during the winter months while still acting as a hedge. Flowers are small and coloured green, leading onto spikey seed cases containing beech nuts. This plant has earnt a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.