Fagus sylvatica 'Atropunicea'

Purple European Beech


Corner of Elmwood Terrace & Glen Moore Circle, Lancaster PA


Pat Lemay


This beautiful tree dominates the in- tersection of Glen Moore and Elm- wood through its great size and color. Actually, this tree is not normally recommended for residential land- scapes (as opposed to parkland or large estates) because of its size.  But this specimen's grandeur is only mag- nified by its unusual siting.

Most incredibly, this tree has been permitted to extend lower branches that completely block -- in two separ- ate places -- sidewalk passage by pedestrians (5th and 6th photos).  The entire neighborhood indulges this tree!

Beech nuts, in their spiny husks, pro- vide a feast for wildlife and are edible by humans.  The photo below, by Miha Krofel, shows a European Brown Bear in Slovenia dining on beech nuts.

(Note: 'Atropunicea' is basically synon- ymous with 'Purpurea' to denote this purple-leafed tree's cultivar name.)

This amazing species has such a high cellulose content that it can be spun into"modal fabric."  In particular, beechwood is pulped into liquid form and then forced through tiny holes to make fibers that are stronger than rayon, softer than cotton, and resist shrinking when wet (last photos).