River’s Purple Beech

Botanical Name: Fagus sylvatica ‘Rivers Purple’

Alternate Name: Fagus sylvatica ‘Riversii’, Purple European Beech, River’s Purple European Beech

The River’s Purple Beech is a cultivar of the European Beech tree, Fagus sylvatica. It has a beautiful, open growth habit with branches that are upright but droop down gracefully at the ends. The foliage is a deep, rich purple.

Fagus sylvatica ‘Rivers Purple’ or Fagus sylvatica ‘Riversii’ makes a focal point tree for larger landscapes. It can be planted as a lawn or park specimen tree where it can provide shade, and its beauty can be appreciated. This tree grows to a height of 40-50 feet and has a spread of 50-60 feet. It can live to be 100 years old.

The River’s Purple Beech tree has beautiful, smooth gray bark, typical of beech trees. This tree provides a majestic winter silhouette, bringing structure to dormant landscapes.

The leaves of Fagus sylvatica ‘Riversii’ emerge in the spring, unfolding shiny and deep purple in color. As spring turns to summer, the leaves become increasingly green but still keep some purple shades to them. The foliage has prominent veins and are an oval or elliptical shape with serrated margins. The fall color is a show-stopping, beautiful bright copper bronze color.

‘Rivers Purple’ will not thrive in wet, poorly drained soils. It can be difficult to transplant. No serious disease or insect problems.


Height: 50-60 ft.

Width: 40-50 ft.

Shape: Rounded, Oval

Flower Color: Yellowish-green

Flowering Time: March-May

Fall Color: Copper

Features: Attractive foliage color, good fall color

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: Specimen tree, shade tree, lawn tree, park tree

Similar trees: Fagus sylvatica (European Beech), Fagus sylvatica 'Dawyck Purple' (Dawyck Purple Beech), Fagus sylvatica ‘Roseomarginata’ (Tricolor European Beech), Fagus grandifolia (American Beech Tree)