Dawyck Purple Beech

Botanical Name: Fagus sylvatica ‘Dawyck Purple’

Alternate Name: Dawyck Purple European Beech

The Dawyck Purple Beech is a cultivar of the European Beech tree, Fagus sylvatica. It is a stunning, medium sized deciduous tree, which grows in a pyramidal or columnar form with an upright growth habit. It is often planted as a specimen tree, prized for its spectacular deep, purple foliage. Also known as Fagus sylvatica ‘Dawyck Purple,’ this tree grows to a height of 25-50 feet and a width of 6-15 feet.

The Dawyck Purple Beech tree has attractive, smooth pale gray bark, similar to that of the species tree (Fagus sylvatica). It forms an interesting silhouette in the winter months. This tree produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are yellowish green, appearing in late spring. They are followed by small fruit (beech nuts) in the fall that are sought after by wildlife.

In the spring, the leaves of the Dawyck Purple Beech unfold a bright reddish purple. The leaves mature to a shiny, deep, burgundy purple as spring and summer pass. The leaves have prominent venation typical of beech trees and are wide and elliptical in shape. The foliage is beautiful in fall, turning a vibrant bronze color. 

This beech tree dislikes being transplanted and will not thrive in wet, poorly drained soils. No serious disease or insect problems, but woolly aphids can be a minor problem. Fagus sylvatica ‘Dawyck Purple’ is also deer and drought resistant, as well as somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, making it suitable for city gardens.


Height: 25-50 ft.

Width: 6-15 ft.

Shape: Pyramidal, Columnar

Flower Color: Yellowish-green

Flowering Time: April-May

Fall Color: Bronze

Features: Attractive fall color, interesting weeping, columnar form

Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade

Watering: Moderate & Regular

Soil: Prefers rich, moist and well-drained soils. Tolerant of a wide range of soil pH and soil types, as long as drainage is good.

Growth Rate: Slow

USDA Zones: 4-7

Uses: Lawn tree, specimen tree, park tree, hedge/screening tree

Similar trees: Fagus sylvatica 'Rivers Purple' (River’s Purple Beech), Fagus sylvatica 'Red Obelisk' (Red Obelisk Beech)Fagus sylvatica ‘Roseomarginata’ (Tricolor European Beech)