Fagus orientalis Lipsky - Oriental beech.

Taxonomic position.

Family Fagaceae Dumort. genus Fagus L.


Fagus sylvatica subsp. orientalis (Lipsky) Greuter & Burdet

Morphology and biology.

Deciduous tree up to 50 m tall. In mountains at the upper limit of its distribution takes a form of shrub with scimitar-shaped trunks. Trunk covered with thin light grey, smooth bark. Leaves oblong, elliptic, 7-12 cm long and 3-8 cm wide, entire or less often slightly dentate, undulate at margins, dark green and glossy above, pubescent along veins beneath. Monoecious plant. Flowers with poorly distinct 4-5-lobed perianth. Male gathered in many-flowered capitate inflorescences. Female with 3 long styles, grouped in 2-4 to enclose a common cupule, the latter lignifying by fruit maturity. Fruit is a triquetrous nut with a glossy brown pericarp.
Anemophilous. Ornitho- and zoochore. Propagates by seeds.
Flowers in April - Main conjunction with leaves coming out, mature fruits in September - October.


Western Europe (Eastern Balkan Peninsula), Crimea, Caucasus, Asia Minor (north), Iran (north).


Mesophyte. Very shade tolerant. One of essential forest-forming trees. Usually grows with other broad-leaved or coniferous trees but may form pure stands. Generally dominates on northern slopes in wet valleys. Demands warmth, soil fertility and wetness, as well as air humidity. Thrives on fertile, brown forest soils. Forms best stands of all ages at the altitude 700 to 1200 m s.m. In the Caucasus, attains 2200-2300 m s.m., to form subalpine elfin woodlands.

Use and economic value.

Technical, ornamental. Provides valuable wood widely used for furniture (bentwood "Viennese" furniture), as well as building carpentry (parquetry). Excellent park tree, with significant ornamental garden forms.


Grossheim AA. 1945. Flora of Caucasus. 2nd ed. V.3. 321 p. (In Russian).
Sokolov SI., Svjaseva OA., Kubli VA. 1977. Ranges of trees and shrubs of the USSR. V.1. Leningrad: Nauka. P.112-114. (In Russian).
Komarov VL., ed. 1936. Flora URSS. V.5. (In Russian).

© I.G.Chukhina

© Photo by D.O.Eliseev

Web design —
Kelnik studios