4. Fagus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 997. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 432, 1754.
Beech, hêtre, haya [Classical Latin name, from Greek figos, an oak with edible acorns, probably from Greek fagein, to eat]
Trees , winter-deciduous. Terminal buds present, long, tapered in maturity, all scales imbricate. Leaves: stipules prominent on new growth, soon deciduous. Leaf blade thin, secondary veins unbranched, ± parallel, extending to margin, each vein ending in acute or obscure tooth. Inflorescences unisexual, axillary in new growth leaves; staminate inflorescence lax, loosely capitate cluster of flowers; pistillate inflorescence short, stiff, cupule 1, terminal. Staminate flowers: sepals connate; stamens 6-16; pistillode typically absent. Pistillate flowers 2 per cupule; sepals distinct; carpels and styles 3. Fruits: maturation in 1st year following pollination; cupule 4-valved, valves distinct, ±completely enclosing nuts until maturity, prickly, prickles stout, unbranched, short, not obscuring surface of cupule, internal valves absent; nuts 2 per cupule, sharply 3-angled, slightly winged. x = 12.
Species 8-10 (1 in the flora): temperate, subtropical, and montane tropical forests, North America (e United States), Mexico, Europe, Asia.
Cooper, A. W. and E. P. Mercer. 1977. Morphological variation in Fagus grandifolia Ehrh. in North Carolina. J. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. 93: 136-149. Hardin, J. W. and G. P. Johnson. 1985. Atlas of foliar surface features in woody plants, VIII. Fagus and Castanea (Fagaceae) of eastern North America. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 112: 11-20. Rehder, A. J. 1907. Some new or little known forms of New England trees. Rhodora 9: 109-116.