Domain Eucarya
Kingdom Plantae
Division Magnoliophyta (formerly Phylum Tracheophyta)
Class Magnoliopsida (formerly Class Dicotyledonae)
Subclass Hamamelididae
Order Fagales
Family Fagaceae
Genus Fagus

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.

  • F. crenata aka F. sieboldii (Japanese Beech, JAPAN)
  • F. engleriana (Engler Beech, CHINA)
  • F. grandifolia (American Beech, EASTERN NORTH AMERICA)
  • F. hayatae (Taiwan Beech, CHINA AND TAIWAN)
  • F. japonica (Japanese Blue Beech, JAPAN)
  • F. longepetiolata aka F. siniensis (Chinese Beech)
  • F. lucida (Shining Beech)
  • F. moesiaca (EASTERN EUROPE)
  • F. multinervis (EAST ASIA)
  • F. orientalis (Oriental Beech, EASTERN EUROPE THROUGH IRAN, LOW ALTITUDES)
  • F. sylvatica (Common or European Beech, BRITISH ISLES AND EUROPE, HIGHER ALTITUDES IN SOUTH)

    Cultivars of F. sylvatica include:

    • F. sylvatica asplenifolia (Fern-leaf Beech)
    • F. sylvatica atropurpurea (Copper Beech)
    • F. sylvatica dawyckii (Dawyck European Beech)
    • F. sylvatica pendula (Weeping Beech)
    • F. sylvatica purpurea (Purple Beech)
    • F. sylvatica riversii (Rivers European Beech)
    • F. sylvatica tricolor (Tricolor European Beech)
    • F. sylvatica zlatia (Golden Beech)

  • F. taurica (EASTERN EUROPE)

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.

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