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FAGUS sylvatica 'Purpurea Tricolor'

Image of Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea Tricolor'

Jesse Saylor

Family

Fagaceae

Botanical Name

FAGUS sylvatica 'Purpurea Tricolor'

Plant Common Name

European Beech, Tricolored Beech

General Description

With its smooth gray bark, elegant deciduous foliage, stately habit, and adaptability, European beech has long been a garden favorite on its native continent and elsewhere. A spectacular cultivar that originated in Germany about 1880, 'Purpurea Tricolor' is a cloud of pink in mid-spring when its purple, broadly pink-margined leaves emerge. The purple and pink hues fade by summer. Leaves turn bronzy tints in fall. Inconspicuous flowers in spring sometimes give rise to bristly capsules that ripen to tan in late summer and fall. They contain one to three edible nuts that are prized by wildlife. Smaller than many purple beeches, this cultivar grows slowly into a medium-sized oval low-branched tree with a stout trunk. It is sometimes confused with 'Tricolor', a small, very rare cultivar with green and white leaves.

Tough and reliable, 'Purpurea Tricolor' performs best in moist, well-drained, acidic to alkaline soil. Give it afternoon shade to protect its leaves from scorching. Established trees tolerate some drought. Beech trees have shallow broad-reaching roots and dense shade, and most plants grow poorly beneath their canopies. This magnificent cultivar is an excellent choice for specimen use in parks or residential gardens. Combine it with flowering dogwood for a breathtaking mid-spring composition of purple, pink, and white. It also works well for bonsai.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    A3, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    40'-60' / 12.2m - 18.3m

  • Width

    30'-50' / 9.1m - 15.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring

  • Native To

    Europe

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow Green

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Tan, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Purple, Pink, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Pink, Bronze

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Copper, Bronze

  • Bark Color

    Gray, Silver, Slate Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No