Purple Weeping Beech ( F. sylvatica ‘Purpurea pendula’) awakens to spring with a river of tender, dark purple leaves that flow from its branch tips. The differences between American beech and European beech lumber. European colonists brought this tree to America in the mid-1700s and it has been a popular ornamental shade tree since that time. In fact, if the water table isn't Knowing about American Beech and European Beech life span is important as life cycles vary and are affected by environmental and genetic factors. American Beech and European Beech Life Span. Q: If we send you a sample of beech, can you tell us if the wood is American beech or European beech? Plant Needs There are no cultivars of the American beech, but there are many cultivars of the European beech (see Additional Information section). European Beech can be planted in rich, well-drained soil with a high water table, as with American Beech. European colonists brought this tree to America in the mid-1700s and it has been a popular ornamental shade tree since that time. European beech is primarily distinguished from the similar American beech (Fagus grandifolia) by (a) smaller size, (b) darker gray bark, and (c) shorter leaves that have wavy mostly untoothed margins. It can be used in large area landscapes, e.g. European Beech will tolerate shade, as does American Beech, but thrives in full sun. European beeches are less adapted to the heat of the south (zones 7b and higher) than the American beech. parks, in-stitutional grounds, or estates, as a specimen tree. The beech tree is a deciduous tree. European beech is primarily distinguished from the similar American beech (Fagus grandifolia) by (a) smaller size, (b) darker gray bark, and (c) shorter leaves that have wavy mostly untoothed margins. European beech tolerates alkaline and less-than-ideal soils more so than American beech. 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