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European Beech

Master Gardener Program
Erika Johnson, Program Coordinator
erika.d.johnson@wsu.edu
(564) 397-5738


Catalog of Trees

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European Beech HT7

European Beech tree

Tree Statistics
Common Name: European Beech
Botanical Name: Fagus sylvatica ‘Riversii’
Trunk DBH (diameter at breast height: 171.6 inches
Height: 125 feet
Spread: 85 feet
Heritage Tree ID: HT7

Tree Location
Neighborhood: Northeast of La Center, WA
Judy Canter
32806 NE Fuller Road
La Center, WA 98629
View in Google Maps

History/Information

Clark County records from 1888 show that the original homestead family name was “Heitzhansen”. Following that, a person who was born and raised on the homestead, Richard Abrahamson, reported his father bought the farm from his parents who had purchased the property sometime before 1900.  The farm produced prune orchards in through the early 1920’s as a thriving enterprise in North Clark County. Family history further has it that the beech tree existed in 1913 when Abrahamson’s father was born. The Abrahamson family called it a Japanese Beech tree until WWII when it was then renamed and called a European Beech tree.

The current owner, Judy Canter, explained her family bought the property in 1970.  Her parents established the “Red Tree Dairy” naming the business after the tree that is brilliant red in the summer and fall. The dairy closed in the 1990’s towards the end of small dairy history in the area near La Center, WA.  Judy and her husband have lived on the property since 1975.

Many people stop and comment on the beauty of this tree.

Noteworthy Tree Characteristics

Fagus sylvatica, commonly called European beech, is a large deciduous tree typically tall with a dense, upright-oval to rounded-spreading crown.It is native to woodlands in central and southern Europe. European colonists brought this tree to America in the mid-1700s and it has been a popular ornamental shade tree since that time.Its fruit is a showy, edible beechnut.

The ‘Riversii’  (Rivers Purple Beech) species is a purple-leaved selection featuring large, glossy leaves (to 5” long). Foliage emerges deep purple in spring, fades to purple green in summer and finally turns copper in autumn.

Sources: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=c784
https://horticulture.oregonstate.edu

Other Related Information

Visitors leave the town of La Center driving east past the public park, library and post office. The main road called NE Lockwood Creek Road meanders east through hills and as you near NE Fuller Road, you will see the tree at a distance at the edge of a hay field. NE Fuller Road is a driveway to the owner’s property and viewing is encouraged from your car as you drive. You are also welcome to turn into the gravel turn around area to enjoy the hugeness of this tree. There is a sitting bench to rest at, but please keep in mind the gravel road has an incline, so walking shoes are needed.  No wheelchairs please.

The neighborhood is picturesque rural with other farms and homes on acreage scattered in the area.

European Beech tree with person in foreground for scale


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WSU Clark County Master Gardener Program
1919 NE 78th Street • Vancouver, WA 98665
(564) 397-5738