This month, our tree specialists at Glendale Civic Trees recommend Fagus sylvatica Purpurea Tricolour (also know as Fagus sylvatica Roseomarginata) for its wide colour spectrum through the seasons.

Where does it grow?

Fagus sylvatica Purpurea Tricolor, commonly known as European beech, is a deciduous tree part of the Fagaceae family. Originating from Central Europe to Caucasus in the late 1880’s, the European beech has long been a garden favourite in a variety of destinations.

What conditions does it prefer?

The European Beech is best grown in damp, well-drained, rich loam soil, making woodlands and residential gardens the perfect habitats for these magnificent cultivars. However the tree is sensitive to sunlight, and therefore likes to be positioned in partial shade, as the foliage may scorch in too much sun.

What does it look like up close?

It can be difficult to get a precise interpretation of this tree as it’s rarely seen, however if you do see one, you will not forget it in a hurry. The leaves come in a variety of shades according to the seasons. In spring through to autumn, the foliage turns various glossy shades of pink, green and white; becoming a copper/bronze shade in autumn, making this a great focal point for any landscape.

Does it have any distinctive features?

The most distinct characteristic of the European beech is its variegated foliage. The name ‘tricolor’ comes from the three varied colours on the leaves, which then become an glorious copper shade in the latter part of the year.

Another distinctive characteristic of the European beech is its attractive bark. The trunk has smooth silver bark which adds a significant winter interest and stands out compared to the amongst the ordinary brown coloured bark of surrounding trees.

Interesting facts:

  • The beechnuts that grow on the tree are mildly toxic so avoid eating them!
  • The leaves have three shades: green, pink and white, which gradually turn to copper in the autumn months
  • It’s one of the smallest beech trees, typically reaching only 5-10 metres a maturity

Our recommendations:

Chris Mills, general manager at Civic Trees, said: “This is an extremely attractive cultivar with striking, varigated purple leaves, making it ideal as a specimen tree in a medium to large-sized garden.  

“It’s worth bearing in mind that, although slow growing,  Fagus sylvatica Purpurea Tricolour has the potential to reach an ultimate height of 18-metres and has a broadly round and slightly sweeping habit so it can take up a bit of space.  Also, due to its fibrous root system, other plants will not grow well under the tree, so it’s important to take this into account when considering where the tree will feature in your landscape.”

To find out more about the tree of the month and if it will work well in your project contact our team: 0208 950 4491 or

If you enjoyed this why not try our Tree of the Month recommendation for May.