Fagus sylvatica, the European beech or common beech, is a deciduous tree belonging to the beech family Fagacaea. It has a natural range extending from southern Sweden though to central Italy, west to France, northern Portugal and central Spain. Although oft regarded as a native in southern England, recent evidence suggests it did not reach here after until after the English Channel was formed in the ice ages.
It is a large tree, capable of reaching heights of up to 49 m and 3 m trunk diameter. It has a typical lifespan of 150 to 200 years, though sometimes up to 300 years. The appearance varies according to its habitat and forest conditions; it tends to have a long, slender light-gray trunk with a narrow crown and erect branches; in isolation with good side light, the trunk is short with a large and widely spreading crown with very long branches.