Blue beech (Carpinus caroliniana)

Blue beech photograph; ? MN DNR, Welby Smith

Form

Small, slow-growing, bushy tree with spreading top of slender, crooked, or drooping branches; height 30'; diameter up to 24".

Bark

Bluish gray, smooth, sometimes marked with broad, dark brown horizontal bands; fluted on trunk with irregular ridges extending up and down.

Leaf

Simple, alternate on stem, length 2" to 4"; oval, long pointed, double toothed along margin; veins prominent; pale bronze green when young; at maturity, thin and firm, and pale, dull green above, light yellow green below; turns red or orange in autumn.

Fruit (seed)

Clusters with leaflike bracts, each with a nutlet about 1/3" long attached to the outside; leaflike bract may act as wing in aiding seed distribution by wind; ripens in August.

Range

Found in moist woods, especially along streams, common throughout the southern half of the state extending north into Itasca Park and the White Earth Indian Reservation; very shade tolerant.