The scientific name for the American beech tree is Fagus grandifolia, according to Blueplantbiomes.org. The American beech tree grows in the southern and eastern regions of the United States. Massachusetts and Maine have particularly high concentrations of the American beech tree. This tree grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 9, according to the Arborday Foundation. American beech trees grow best in deep, rich, moist and well-drained soils. American beech trees do not do well in urban areas because of the high concentrations of carbon monoxide.
American beech trees grow to heights between 90 and 100 feet, according to Blueplantbiomes.org. Spreads of American beech trees range from 50 to 70 feet wide.
American beech trees have smooth pale gray bark, according to Blueplantbiomes.org. Leaves of this tree are bright green and are approximately 3 inches in length. Leaves start wide and eventually terminate at the point of the leaf. American beech trees have extremely shallow root systems. Leaves of these trees emerge in late spring. Nuts from the American beech tree range from one-half an inch to 1 inch in length.
Lumber from the American beech tree is used for furniture and paper, according to Blueplantbiomes.org. Wood from the American beech tree is strong, heavy and resistant to splintering. Animals that feed on nuts from this tree include opossums, black bears, white-tailed deer, rabbits, ruffed grouse, red squirrels, gray squirrels, flying foxes and porcupines. Nuts from this tree can be harvested or sold for food. These nuts are extremely nutritional because of their high oil content.
Chickadees use the branches of the American beech trees for nesting and many animals use hollowed-out trunks for homes. American beech wood is commonly used for firewood because of its high density. Tar from the American beech tree, creosote, is used to protect other types of wood from rotting. Leaves and bark from this tree are used to make fabric dyes.
American beech trees live to be between 300 and 400 years old, according to the University of Florida.
American colonists used leaves from the American beech tree for mattress stuffing, according to the University of Florida. The American beech tree is the only member of the Fagus genus that grows in North America.