A closeup of the vividly dark purple, almost black foliage of the Rivers European Beech with a dark pink beech nut beginning to form

Rivers European Beech

Bower & Branch Trees and Plants

Fagus sylvatica 'Riversii'

Regular price

This plant is not available at this time through Bower & Branch. We provide this plant profile for reference only.

See below for alternative selections for purchase and inspiration!



  • Vibrant deep purple foliage remains from spring into fall
  • Multiple shades of gold, copper, and yellow emerge as fall arrives
  • In winter, smooth, silvery-gray bark is exposed, offering beautiful winter interest
  • Large legacy tree best used as a specimen tree, in a grove, or in wildlife gardens
  • Low maintenance and highly adaptable
Whisperer Icon
1(866) 873-3888

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 4-7
  • Mature Height: 40-50' tall
  • Mature Width: 20-30' wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Spacing: 25-30' apart

Why plant Rivers European Beech?

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.

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!

How to use Rivers European Beech in the landscape?

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. Be considerate when selecting your planting location for this stunning long-lived legacy tree, as it can grow quite large. It makes a stunning specimen tree due to the beautiful foliage and it is a wonderful addition to a wildlife garden due to the tasty Beech Nuts that will attract turkeys, deer, squirrels, chipmunks, and more!

Planting Zones

Hardiness Zone: 4-7

How To Plant Rivers European Beech

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.

How To Water

Once established, the Rivers European Beech has some drought tolerance. However, initially after planting, you should water slowly, deeply, and thoroughly to ensure the root system has immediate water. Continue watering this way for the first growing season every two to three days.

How To Fertilize

When planting, we recommend you use the Bower & Branch Starter Plant Food. Simply mix it in the hole before the tree is planted, and then again over top as you create the care bed. Reapply each spring and fall for at least the first three years.

How To Prune

As common with Beech trees, due to their slow growth rate, pruning is not necessary. However, if corrective or maintenance pruning is needed, it is best to do so in late winter to early spring.

How Does Shipping Work?

Bower & Branch Trees, the real BIG trees, don’t fit in a box! Our big trees, sizes XL and bigger, require expert delivery and care, that means our extra-large trees are shipped on Bower & Branch trucks. We are the only ones who know how to ship our big and bigger trees and plants with tender loving care. We deliver your trees and plants directly to you. Ask Bower & Branch about planting services – we'd be happy to assist in installation.

*For Big trees and Shrubs, Size XL and bigger: Review our Seasonal Shipping Timelines and Policy here.

Your trees and plants are grown across the United States at various Bower & Branch Growers. Depending on your location, your plant orders may be shipped from various locations. Please expect orders with multiple items to be delivered over a number of days as a result. Orders made up of numerous items or selections will not arrive at your home on the same day.

Shipping Delays:

From time to time, Bower & Branch Growers may determine to delay order shipment based on various factors for plant health. Weather in your region, as well as, where your plants are grown, is always considered when shipping. Extreme weather conditions may delay some or all of your order. Bower & Branch allows our Growers to make final shipping decisions based solely to benefit your trees and plants’ health and success.

How Does Sizing Work?

The size of our trees have nothing to do with the container size like you may find elsewhere–big doesn't mean just height - it’s also vigor, age, and overall health. Other online retailers are going to tell you that a plant is a seven gallon, that means nothing to your tree or plant (or you.)

Our trees for sale online are graded on large, x-large, and even bigger sizes. This is because our trees are sized by their age—the higher the letter, the more mature the tree. The age determines the trees’ overall height, size of the trunk and the overall branch density.

All of these characteristics are what you should be looking for when choosing a tree for immediate impact and instant curb appeal. Our extra-large tree and plant sizes are sure to wow you and your neighbors!

See the size guides below.

How Trees are Shipped
Size 4XL D Trees Size 3XL C Trees Size 2XL B Trees Size XL A Trees Size LARGE AA Trees

Our Guarantees


Bower & Branch offers a Three-Year Tree Guarantee on all of our trees, sizes X-Large and up. Only the finest and the most experienced growers are awarded the opportunity to grow for Bower & Branch, so we offer the best guarantee available.

If your tree(s) should fail for any reason during the three-year guarantee period, you will receive an online gift card in the amount that you originally spent on the tree.* You can then use this online gift card for any Bower & Branch Purchase.

* Bower & Branch provides online gift cards in the amount of the original purchase price of the tree(s). The amount does not include any additional costs such as delivery, planting, tax, or any other products or services. Online gift cards can be applied towards any Bower & Branch purchase on BowerandBranch.com and have no expiration dates. Bower & Branch does not guarantee tree replacement or availability of any desired product at any time. Cash refunds are not offered. Bower & Branch requires that all original tags and receipts are present when a guarantee request is initiated. The Bower & Branch Three-Year Guarantee only applies to plant material that has been planted in the ground. Container plantings are NOT covered.

At Bower & Branch, we do our best to honor all guarantee fulfillment requests to ensure customer satisfaction. However, we reserve the right to refuse the request if the required guarantee steps were not satisfied. Bower & Branch also reserves the right to deny any guarantee fulfillment request that is made as a result of animal damage, problems with plant hardiness and zone issues, or acts of nature (snow storms, hurricanes, and similar).


Reach out to a Plant Whisperer with any questions:

- Email: plantwhisperers@bowerandbranch.com

- Phone: 866-873-3888

- Or via Online Chat

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review