Large deciduous tree
Description: Leaves unfurl a tender, copper green gradually turning a deep purple bronze; smooth, pewter-hued bark; pyramidal to rounded tree
Habit: Grows to 80 feet, spreading 35-45 feet
Culture: Prefers full sun to part shade and rich, moist soil with plenty of organic matter; surface roots must never be disturbed by cultivation or covered with sod
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 through 7
The original purple-leaf beech was discovered in the Hanleiter Forest of Germany before 1772. The copper beech was an early offspring of this wild form with paler leaves. In 1807 Thomas Jefferson twice ordered "Purple Beeches" from Thomas Main's nursery in Georgetown. Jefferson directed his overseer, Edmund Bacon, to plant them in the southwest and northwest angles of Monticello.