European Copper Beech
From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia
Common Name: European Copper Beech
Scientific Name: Fagus sylvatica Atropunicea
In 1807, Jefferson ordered “Purple Beeches” from Thomas Main’s nursery in March, then in November, because the first planting failed. Jefferson directed his overseer, Edmund Bacon, to have Wormley Hughes plant them in the southwest and northwest angles of the house at Monticello. One of these trees survived until the 1950s, while the other until the 1970s.
The original purple-leaf beech was discovered in the Hanleiter Forest of Germany before 1772, and it became the most common beech in 19th century gardens.
The copper beech was an early offspring of this wild form with paler leaves. This tree is a pyramidal to rounded tree with large deciduous leaves that unfurl a tender, copper green gradually turning a deep purple bronze with smooth, pewter-hued bark.
- ↑ This article is based on a Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.
- ↑ Betts, Garden Book, 342 and 353.
- ↑ Ibid, 334 and 355.
- ↑ Denise Wiles Adams, Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940 (Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc., 2004), 79.
- Betts, Edwin M., Hazlehurst Bolton Perkins, and Peter J. Hatch. Thomas Jefferson's Flower Garden at Monticello, 3rd ed. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1986
- Leighton, Ann. American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1986
- Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants