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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.