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Fagus sylvatica Atropunicea - Copper Beech

There are few trees that give more to the landscape than the stately Copper Beech (Fagus sylvatica Atropunicea). This beautiful, large tree can grow up to 40m+ height and is the perfect specimen for parkland or a large estate with its branches sweeping gracefully as it matures.

In spring, the downy foliage emerges an eye-catching purple, perfect for giving contrast to an otherwise green landscape. As we progress into summer, the smooth glossy leaves will fade to a deep purplish green. By autumn with the low sun, this tree is ablaze with vibrant copper orange and yellow hues.

Inconspicuous catkins are borne in spring, leading to the development of the beech nut. Encapsulated in a spiny brown case, this fruit provides a feast for local wildlife and they are also edible to humans.

The bark is also an attractive feature. Smooth and grey, it adds interest to the form, especially in winter.

Beech will thrive in almost all locations on a fertile but well drained soil in full sun.

FACT: Purple leaved Beech dates back to the 15th century where records show its occurrence in Germany.

Plant Profile

Name: Fagus sylvatica Atropunicea

Common Name: Copper Beech

Family: Fagaceae

Height: up to 30m height

Demands: Full sun. Moist but well drained soil, may show signs of stress with prolonged drought.

Foliage: Deep purple in spring, fading through the summer. Glorious shades of orange and yellow in autumn

Flower: Inconspicuous catkins borne in spring

Fruit: Beech nuts, edible to animals and humans, in small spiny cases. Most prolific on mature established trees

Bark: Attractive, smooth and grey

Fagus sylvatica Atropunicea info sheet

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