Division Magnoliophyta (formerly Phylum Tracheophyta)
Class Magnoliopsida (formerly Class Dicotyledonae)
The genus of Beeches contains 10-12 deciduous tree species, native to the Northern Hemisphere. They are distinguished by smooth grey bark, and serrated ovate leaves which emerge from cigar-shaped buds in the spring. Their fruits consist of small, angular nuts encased in a leathery capsule resembling an acorn or a chestnut capsule.
Beech has a considerable commercial importance: Its wood is used for furniture, molding, and paper. Beeches are valuable as ornamental plantings (and are frequently used for bonsai).
The list below lists the trees' native ranges. However, many species of beech, particularly F. sylvatica, have been planted as ornamentals throughout the world.
Several tree species native to the Southern Hemisphere are also labeled 'Beech', but these are usually placed in the genus Nothofagus of the family Nothofagaceae.