Fagus sylvatica var.
* Several varieties; all resemble American Beech but smaller in size
and with smaller leaves.
* Bark darker than American Beech, leaves more elliptical, with smaller,
rounded teeth, 2-4".
* Leaf margins and veins on leaf undersides hairy.
* Height: Most trees are planted in sunny areas and therefore do not
reach their full height. Centenarians in the Wellesley area grow up to
* European beech is planted in the United States primarily as an ornamental
* There are many varieties of Fagus sylvatica, three of which are pictured
here. See "Connections" for the names of the varieties.
* "Or shall I rather the sad verse repeat
Which on the beech's bark I lately writ?"
-Virgil, 70-19 B.C.E.
* Because of its soft, smooth bark, the beech is intimately
connected with the written (or carved) word. It is believed that
the first Sanskrit characters were carved on the bark of Fagus
sylvatica. In fact, our word 'book' comes from the Anglo-Saxon
'boc', meaning letter or character, which derives from 'beece',
* "Under yonder beech-tree single on the greensward,
Couched with her arms behind her golden head,
Knees and tresses folded to slip and ripple idly,
Lies my young love sleeping in the shade."
-George Meredith, 1828-1909
* The top photo shows the true European beech, while the three
other photos show cultivated varieties that are found on the
Wellesley campus. The second photo depicts Fagus sylvatica
purpurea, the third shows Fagus sylvatica atropunica,
and the bottom photo is of Fagus sylvatica laciniata.