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A picture of a Common Beech

Common Beech

Fagus sylvatica

Also known as

European Beech, Beech

Fagus sylvatica 'atropurpurea pendula' leaves 01 by Line1 by Liné1 (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








50 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Common Beech

Fagus sylvatica flower
Fagus sylvatica fruit
Fagus sylvatica fruit
A photo of Common Beech
A photo of Common Beech

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.

Common problems with Common Beech

Beech bark disease, canker, grey squirrels.

How to propagate Common Beech


Seeds require stratifying before the will germinate. This can be done by planting the seed in compost during mid to late autumn and leaving in a cold frame. The other method is to put it into a sealed bag with some moist vermiculite and put that into the fridge over winter. The bag method requires regular checks for fungal growth and germination.


Hardwood cuttings are the best form of vegetative propagation for Fagus sylvatica


Propagate from seed as soon as it autumns; cultivators must be grafted.

Special features of Common Beech

Hedge plant

Winter colour

Attractive leaves

Other uses of Common Beech

Specimen, hedging, raw materials. Suitable for coastal conditions. Bronze coloured autumn foliage.

Native British Trees

Learn about the trees native to the UK and the critical role trees play in securing the future of our planet.

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