Key identifying features.. Purple ovate
leaves with v-shaped veins; gray, wrinkly bark.
Common name.. Purple European Beech
Scientific name.. Fagus sylvatica
Mature height.. To 100 feet
Mature spread.. 40 to 60 feet
Form.. Oval, round, broad, symmetrical
canopy with branches that naturally sweep the ground. This is a large, majestic tree suitable for very large landscapes, arguably
the best speciman available in North America, but is not suited for residential yards or near streets.
Fruit.. Oval, dry, hard brown nut, to
1 inch in length attracts birds and is suited for human consumption. It poses no significant litter problem.
Flowers.. Inconspicuous flowers in spring.
|Bradley and Gregory at the trunk, for scale
Foliage.. Deciduous; purple or red in
spring, deeping through summer to copper and showy in fall. Leaves are alternate, simple, ovate with pinnate veins.
Growth rate.. Slow, less than 1 foot
Culture.. Full sun in a moist, well-drained
Best time to prune.. (Still researching
Of special note.. This is such a large,
majestic tree that it should not be used in residential plantings or as a street tree. Its natural shape requires the branches
to droop to the ground as far as 60 feet out at maturity. This tree needs space! For a narrow cultivar, see 'Dawyck' Purple Beech.
Julie's Comments.. I first
noticed this tree when I moved into my house in 1996 and realized there was a majestic tree in my midst, only a few hundred
yards from my backyard, on East Chestnut Street in Metuchen. She was so tall, I could see her from any place in my yard, from
any north- or east-facing window in my house, and from just about any place in town. Her purple leaves were stunning. Her
13-foot trunk of wrinkly gray bark compelled me to imagine what secrets she held beneath her folds. She had to have been well
over a hundred years old. This was my all-time favorite tree. And I cry everytime I think of how she met her demise.
I am consoled somewhat by the fact that there is another majestic beech at Borough Hall, which I am following in the hopes
that by some miracle, she doesn't succomb to construction damage when the old municipal building was torn down, and the new
one put up in 2004-05.
|Borough Hall: This tree says, "Strong."
Planting date.. This
information is unknown, but I am researching to see if I might find any answers at the Metuchen Public Library. As I find
out information, you can bet I'll post it here!
DO OVER?.. Yes.