Rivers European Beech Tree
Rivers European Beech Leaf
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Rivers European Beech Tree
Rivers European Beech Leaf
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Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-7
  • Spacing: 40'
  • Exposure: Sun/Part Shade
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

Rivers European Beech

Fagus sylvatica 'Riversii'

This plant is not available at this time through Bower & Branch. Bower & Branch provides this information for reference only. Please click here to be placed on a waiting list. See below for other selections.

Rivers European Beech is a stunning purple-leaved legacy tree that will beautify your home landscape for generations to come. In time, this head-turner will become an awe-inspiring shade tree with massive limbs and the smooth, gray bark that Beeches are famous for. Purple Beeches have been cherished for well over 300 years, but this one is especially captivating due to the richness of its leaf color. You’ll love to see it awaken each spring with a new canopy of foliage the color of dark chocolate. In mild-summer climates the color holds all season.

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-7
  • Spacing: 40'
  • Exposure: Sun/Part Shade
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

Recommended by Our Growers

The Story

This Beech tree arose at the nursery of Thomas Rivers of Sawbridgeworth, England in the 1870s. Rivers was the third Thomas Rivers in five generations of Thomas Riverses to run the family nursery (they liked that name a lot). Thomas #3 actually made a name for himself developing new varieties of fruit trees and growing them on “under glass” (in a greenhouse). His business got a big shot in the arm when Great Britain lifted the “Glass Tax” in 1845. Before then, glass was so expensive there that no one except the very wealthy could afford to have more than a few windows in their homes—let alone own a whole greenhouse!

The Details

Purple Beeches are sometimes called “Copper Beeches,” though Copper Beeches are generally less richly colored than Purple Beeches, and none is as dark as Rivers Beech. Rivers’ leaves do turn a coppery color in autumn, however.

How to Grow

Rivers Beech’s nearly black foliage turns green in the shade, so be sure to site your tree where it can bask in the sunshine all day. Like other Beech trees, this one appreciates moist but well-drained soil but can handle short droughty periods once established. Rivers Beech’s shallow roots prevent the growing of grass or more than a handful of tough spring bulbs underneath it, so dress it with a carpet of mulch instead and let your tree have the root space all to itself. Given these comforts, this Purple Beech tree is normally low-maintenance and problem-free.

More Info

Cold Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 5
Heat Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 7
Exposure Sun/Part Shade
Avg Mature Height 50'
Avg Mature Width 40'
Spacing 40'
Growth Rate Slow
Leaf Color Purple
Fall Leaf Color Bronze
Flower Color N/A
Flower Time Spring
Cary Award Winner No
PA Gold Medal Award No
Attractive Bark Yes
Attracts Birds No
Attracts Butterflies No
Attracts Hummingbirds No
Attracts Pollinators No
Deer Resistant Yes
Drought Tolerant No
Dry, Poor Soils No
Edible Fruit No
Fragrant No
Groundcover No
Hedge/Windbreak Yes
Native No
Salt Tolerance/Seashore No
Seasonal Cut Branches No
Shade Tolerance Yes
Showy Flowers No
Specimen Yes
Urban Conditions No
Utility Line Trees No
Wet Moist Soils No
Winter Interest Yes
Woodland Garden Yes
Decor/Craft Use No

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale


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Rivers European Beech Tree
Rivers European Beech Leaf