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American Beech vs European Beech

These similar species are easily distinguished by differences in leaves, as well as nuts.

American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

European Beech (Fagus sylvatica)

A shade-tolerant tree representing a climax species in hardwood forests of eastern North America.
Native to Europe; widely planted in North America and established in the wild in a few locations.
Smaller nuts and larger leaves: nuts look small relative to leaves.
Photo © guppin, Public Domain.
Larger nuts and shorter leaves: nuts look large relative to leaves.
Photo © Marc Hermann, Public Domain.
Longer leaves with gentle taper to a long point. Leaf margins distinctly serrated, with points where veins meet leaf margins.
Photo © Quentin Groom, Public Domain.
Shorter, relatively broader, oval-shaped leaves with less of a distinct point at the tip. Leaf margins not serrated.
Photo © Tobias Schönberg, Public Domain.
No purple-leafed cultivars exist. During the growing season, foliage is always green.
Photo © Christian Grenier, Public Domain.
Numerous cultivars exist; purple-leafed cultivars are widely planted, and their descendants sometimes revert to intermediate bronze-colored forms.
Photo © mangoblatt, Public Domain.
Spines on nut less likely to curve; sometimes entirely straight.
Photo © Laura Gaudette, CC BY 4.0.
Spines on nut hulls often much more curvy or curled.
Photo © Christian Kahle, Public Domain.

References & External Resources

These short lists show only links helpful for ID. For a complete list of references and resources also covering other aspects of ecology, visit the links section of the full article on each plant, whcih is the first entry here.

American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

European Beech (Fagus sylvatica)

Fagus grandifolia | Go Botany (About This Site)

Fagus sylvatica | Go Botany (About This Site)

Fagus grandifolia (American Beech) | Illinois Wildflowers (About This Site)

No corresponding entry

American Beech | Virginia Tech Dendrology Factsheets (About This Site)

European Beech | Virginia Tech Dendrology Factsheets (About This Site)

Fagus grandifolia | Flora of North America (About This Site)

No corresponding entry

Fagus grandifolia | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

Fagus sylvatica | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)