Leaf: Alternate, simple, ovate or elliptical, 3 to 6 inches long, pinnately-veined (8 to 13 pairs), with a nearly entire to somewhat toothed or wavy margin. Fine hairs present on margin with tomentum on veins. Shiny green in color, but purple varieties are planted.
Flower: Species is monoecious; male flowers borne on globose heads hanging from a slender stalk, female flowers borne on shorter spikes. Flowers appear just after leaves in the spring.
Fruit: Nuts are irregularly triangular, shiny brown and edible, found in pairs within a woody husk covered with spines, 1 inch long, maturing in the fall. Husks have stipule-like structures at the base.
Twig: Slender, zigzag, light brown in color; buds are long (1 inch), light brown, and slender, covered with overlapping scales that are tinged with tomentum, widely divergent from stems.
Bark: Smooth, thin, and dark gray-blue in color, smooth even on the largest stems, may be mottled.
Form: A medium size tree reaching up to 120 feet tall with a stocky trunk and a round crown. Does not root sucker.
Looks like: European beech - American beech
Additional Range Information: Fagus orientalis is planted in the USDA hardiness zones shown above and is not known to widely escape cultivaton. Download the full-size PDF map.
All material © 2019 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654; range map source information