Fagus sylvatica f. heterophylla ‘Aspleniifolia’

fern-leaf European beech

  • © Guy Meacham

Outstanding Qualities

Fagus sylvatica var. heterophylla 'Aspleniifolia' is a large tree with strong, muscular branches and delicate fern-like foliage. It makes a fine specimen tree for large gardens or parks. According to GPP committee member Douglas Justice, "It has the laciest leaves and is the most elegant of all the beeches." Leaves are green and have a lustrous sheen during summer with the autumn color being a golden brown. The light gray bark of the European beech is ornamental in winter and they are exceptionally long-lived trees that make an aristocratic addition to the garden.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: tree

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 20 ft. 0 in. (6.10 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 20 ft. 0 in. (6.10 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 80 ft. 0 in. (24.38 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 80 ft. 0 in. (24.38 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 9

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun

Water Requirements: occasional watering during prolonged dry periods

Seasonal Interest: autumn color

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: silver, gold, burgundy, bronze

Great Color Partners: dark green, chartreuse, blue

Culture Notes
This European beech can tolerate a wide variety of soil conditions from sand to clay as long as the drainage is adequate. Once established it only needs occasional watering during prolonged dry periods. It is a handsome specimen and should be provided enough space to fully develop. It rarely needs pruning to maintain its naturally graceful and majestic form and the thin, delicate bark can be easily injured. For these reasons, consult an experienced pruner or arborist before attempting to prune. Woolly aphids can be a minor problem, but sprays are not required since they do not jeopardize the tree’s vigor or health. Avoid planting near driveways or patios where the sticky “honeydew” from the aphids can create sticky surfaces.