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American Beech

Fagus grandifolia

Seneca Name


Common Name


Earth is Our Mother Trail

GPS Coordinates

N 42°58.007' W077°25.362'

The American Beech is a large tree (60-80') with a rounded crown and long horizontal branches. It has dull, dark-green elliptical leaves (2.5-5" long, 1-3" wide) that are saw-toothed and end in a point. The bark is one of the things casual trail walkers may notice first. The bark is light gray, very smoth, and thin regardless of the maturity of the tree. Because of this, the American Beech is often subjected to damage and possible disease from people carving their names in its beautiful smooth bark. The beech produces an edible nut which is 5/8" long, 3-angled and shiny brown. The beech's leaves turn yellow or brown in the Fall. It is one of the most easy to recognize trees on a winter hike - the smooth gray bark, long pointed leaf buds, and it often retains some of last year's leaves - in our Northeastern hardwood forests, only some oaks and the beech will retain a portion of last season's leaves through the winter.

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