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Carl H. Tubbs and David R. Houston
American beech (Fagus grandifolia) is the only species of this genus in North America. Although beech is now confined to the eastern United States (except for the Mexican population) it once extended as far west as California and probably flourished over most of North America before the glacial period (39). This slow-growing, common, deciduous tree reaches its greatest size in the alluvial soils of the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys and may attain ages of 300 to 400 years. Beech wood is excellent for turning and steam bending. It wears well, is easily treated with preservatives, and is used for flooring, furniture, veneer, and containers. The distinctive triangular nuts are eaten by people and are an important food for wildlife.