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Beeches (Fagus) from the beech family have a wide distribution area. However, only two of the eleven species are native to Europe, the common beech (Fagus sylvatica) and the oriental beech (Fagus orientalis). In German forests they are the most common deciduous trees. In contrast to red and copper beeches, hornbeams, false beeches and hop beeches are not beeches, even if their name suggests otherwise. They belong to the birch and beech family.

determine booking

  • Beech is one of the so-called periderm trees
  • Trees that do not form bark or only form bark when they are old
  • Deciduous trees up to 40 m tall
  • Bark is silver gray and smooth
  • Leaves are oblong-ovate, pointed to pointed
  • Leaf color is green, but with the exception of copper beech
  • copper beech, a mutation of the common beech with reddish leaves
  • Beeches have female and male flowers (monoecious)
  • Flowers and fruits after 10-15 years at the earliest
  • Flowers rather inconspicuous

In this country, they are valued primarily because of the particular hardness of the wood, which is why they are among the most important timbers belong. They owe their fame to their triangular, chestnut-brown nuts, the so-called beechnuts. They contain up to 50% oil, which is why they are used for oil production. The main use, however, is the use of wood. Even if all beech species are very similar in appearance, there are still some distinctive characteristics that can be used to identify each individual beech species.

Booking from A - E

American beech (Fagus grandifolia)

  • Grows as a medium sized tree
  • Growth heights of up to 30 m
  • Forms a spreading to round and dense crown
  • Leaves are 5-12 cm long, up to 7 cm wide
  • Upper leaf surface glossy blue-green, but lighter lower surface
  • leaf margins serrated
  • Petiole only 3-8 mm long
  • Leaves turn orange-yellow to brownish in autumn
  • Natural range in eastern and northern Central America
  • In North America, however, the only naturally occurring beech species

Chinese beech (Fagus sinensis)

  • Reaches growth heights of up to 25 m
  • Growth is rather slender, with a beautifully built crown
  • Native to northern Vietnam and southern and central China
  • Leaves are 9-15 cm long
  • Leaf margins are serrated and bulged
  • Petioles are 1.0-3.5 cm long
  • Leaf tops are fresh green, smooth and shiny
  • Blue-green undersides, finely and densely hairy
  • Autumn color then orange-yellow

Engler's beech (Fagus engleriana)

  • Native to southern and eastern China
  • Grows between 15 and 25 m tall
  • Stalked leaves are bluish-green and 4-9 cm long
  • Foliage turns orange-yellow in autumn
  • Leaf undersides glabrous except for the silky veins
  • Flowering time is from April to May
  • Small catkins are rather inconspicuous
Engler's beech with fruit

Book from G - K

Glossy beech (Fagus lucida)

  • Native to several provinces in eastern and southern China
  • Reaches heights of growth between 20 and 25 m
  • Glossy green leaves are 5-10 cm long
  • Leaf margins slightly serrated
  • Leaves smooth and glabrous except for the main vein, which is silky hairy
  • Petioles are up to 2 cm long
  • Young leaves consumed in moderation, edible
  • Have a rather mild aroma

tip: The dried beechnuts are ground into flour to make bread. Roasted, they are also used as a coffee substitute and fresh for oil production.

Japanese beech (Fagus japonica)

  • Also known as Japanese blue beech
  • Natural range is in Japan
  • Mainly grows as a multi-stemmed tree up to 25 m tall
  • Young shoots mostly glabrous
  • The name 'blue beech' refers to bluish coloring of the leaves
  • Leaves 5-9 cm long and 2.5-4.5 cm wide
  • Leaf margins slightly indented to entire
  • Uppers of the leaves are bluish-green
  • Undersides are yellowish green
  • Petiole is about 1 cm long
  • Is mainly cultivated as an ornamental tree

Notched beech (Fagus crenata)

  • Notched beech is also native to Japan
  • Reaches a stately size of up to 35 m
  • Rarely found in Central Europe
  • Forms a dense treetop with dark green leaves
  • Leaves have a wavy notched edge
  • Autumn color of the foliage is golden brown
  • In their natural home mostly designed as bonsai
  • Bonsai design is very important there
Notched beech as bonsai

tip: The seeds of the notched beech are roasted and then used as substitute coffee or for oil extraction.

Book O - T

Oriental beech (Fagus orientalis)

  • Natural homeland is Asia Minor, the eastern Balkans, the Caucasus and northern Iran
  • Grows up to 40 m high
  • Dense, conical crown with ascending branches
  • Very fast growing in the first few years
  • Sprouts 2-3 weeks earlier than with Fagus sylvatica
  • Leaves are 6-12 cm long
  • Petiole is 0.5-1.5 cm long and silky hairy
  • Leaf tops are bare, veined dark blue-green and light yellow-green
  • Leaf margins are finely hairy, entire, wavy or wavy-indented
  • Noticeably large buds
  • Mainly the wood is used

European beech (Fagus sylvatica)

  • The only beech species native to Germany
  • Can reach growth heights of 20-30 m
  • Grows to a ripe old age of about 250 years
  • The name does not refer to the color of the leaves
  • The decisive factor, however, was the slightly reddish shimmering color of the wood
  • Leaves are up to 10 cm long and 5 cm wide
  • Leaf margins are wavy
  • Leaves shiny dark green from May to July
  • Turn brown from August to October
  • Petiole is 1.0-1.5 cm long
  • Flowers appear at the same time as the leaves
  • Copper beech, weeping beech and fern-leaved common beech are ornamental species of Fagus sylvatica
European beech, Fagus sylvatica

Taiwan beech (Fagus hayatae)

  • The natural home of the Taiwan beech is China
  • Native to the provinces of Sichuan and Zhejiang in particular
  • There it grows in peak regions of deciduous forests and on mountain slopes
  • Can reach heights of growth of up to 20 m
  • However, bluish coloring of the leaves and the wood is rather rare
  • However, it is mainly cultivated as an ornamental tree
  • Leaves are 3-7 cm long, margins serrated and bulging
  • Young leaves have silky hairs on the upper and lower side

Similar named genera

Hornbeam, hop beech and false beech are not beeches. Hornbeam and hopbeam are among these birch family and the false beeches to the genus der beech family. But here, too, there are features that clearly distinguish these trees from real beeches.



  • Hornbeams are confusingly similar to real beeches
  • Differences, however, mainly in the nature of the leaves and tree size
  • Reach growth heights of up to 25 m
  • Trunks very often crooked, brownish and clearly more cracked
  • Densely branched crown is initially conical
  • Hornbeams grow rounder and more expansive as they age
  • Leaves much coarser, heavily ridged and doubly serrated
  • The undersides of young leaves have silky hairs, but later become glabrous
Carpinus betulus, hornbeam

hop beech


  • Hop beeches grow up to 15 m high
  • Usually as a large shrub with one or more stems or a broad-crowned, 20 m tall tree
  • Bark is a dark scaly bark
  • Leaves are 5-12 cm long, elliptical to oval, doubly serrate
  • The name derives from the hop-like fruits
Hop beech, Ostrya carpinifolia

mock beech


  • False beeches mostly evergreen
  • Some species are deciduous, two species are semi-evergreen
  • Very often grow on one side or at an angle
  • It often grew in multiple stems with branches arranged in a herringbone pattern
  • Crown somewhat bizarre, twisted or conical
  • Leaves mostly wavy
  • Give off a fresh, spicy scent when they shoot in spring
  • Growth heights of up to 12 m possible in the garden

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