Fagus sylvatica


Common Beech is one of our most iconic trees, particularly in the woodlands of the south, such as those found in the Chilterns. Here, it grows tall and broad, turning a shining golden brown in autumn as its leaves die, and littering the woodland floor with its nuts (known as 'mast'). Beech wood is used for furniture and ornaments, and, from the 18th century onwards, straight-trunked, uncoppiced trees became a more frequent site in woods and parks - ideal for timber.

How to identify

Beech can be recognised by its shiny, soft oval leaves, smooth, grey bark, torpedo-shaped buds and its large, hairy fruit that contains the beech nuts.

Where to find it

Widespread in southern and central England, widely planted elsewhere.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for all kinds of species. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to raising awareness about woodland animals.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Fagus sylvatica
Trees and shrubs
Height: up to 40m
Conservation status