What it looks like

American beech trees have broad crowns with bark that is smooth and a light bluish-grey that darkens with age. Its large oval leaves (six to 14 centimetres long) are dark bluish-green on top and lighter beneath.

American beech nuts are edible and popular with many birds and mammals. They grow in pairs in bristly reddish-brown husks. Beech bark disease is currently threatening the species across its entire range.

Where it is found

The American beech grows across southern and central Ontario, as far north as the north shore of Georgian Bay. It’s a medium-sized tree that grows slowly but can live for 200 years or longer.

Planting Tips

  • Size: Up to 25 metres tall
  • Moisture: moist, well drained soils required
  • Shade: Very shade-tolerant
  • Soil: prefers rich soils

Use chicken-wire or hardware cloth to create a small cage around seedling American Beech trees to protect them from wildlife.

Did you know?

The distinctive triangular nuts are eaten by people as well as wildlife.

Image credits

  • Tree: Tim Ross
  • Leaf: Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Bark: Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Fruit: Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service