Fagus grandifolia Ehrhart var. caroliniana (Loudon) Fernald & Rehder. Subgenus: Fagus. Section: Grandifolia. Phen: Mar-May; Sep-Oct. Hab: Moist forests, from near sea level to low elevations in the Mountains, mostly below 1050 meters (3500 feet). Dist: Se. MA, OH, IN, s. IL, s. MI (?), and MO south to Panhandle FL and e. TX.
Origin/Endemic status: Native
Taxonomy Comments: Fagus grandifolia is sister to F. mexicana Martínez, of montane Mexico, and which is sometimes treated as a disjunct subspecies or variety of F. grandifolia. In eastern North America, several subspecies, varieties, or phases of Fagus grandifolia have been described, and their taxonomic recognition is controversial. The most recent monographer, Shen (1992), recognized three subspecies, two as treated here (except as varieties, and the third, Fahus mexicana at subspecies rank. I have here chosen to recognize two intergradient varieties in our area, with F. mexicana (beyond our region) accorded species rank. Cooper & Mercer (1977) studied variation in NC, concluding that two genetic races or varieties were present, the montane var. grandifolia and the Piedmont and Coastal Plain var. caroliniana, but that patterns of variation were complicated. Hardin & Johnson (1985) and Hardin (1992, 1985) noted that variation is "more-or-less" clinal, variation within populations is great, and they did not favor recognition of infraspecific taxa. Depending on one's tolerance or intolerance for intergradational varieties, one may choose to recognize one or two taxa in our area.
Synonymy: = C, F, G, Il, Tx, Elias (1971a); = Fagus ferruginea Aiton; = Fagus grandifolia Ehrh. ssp. caroliniana (Loudon) Camp ex Shen – Shen (1992), nomen nudum; < Fagus grandifolia Ehrh. – Ar, Fl2, FNA3, K1, K3, K4, NE, NY, Pa, RAB, S, Tn, Va, W, WH3, WV, Cooper & Mercer (1977); < Fagus grandifolia Ehrh. ssp. grandifolia – Govaerts & Frodin (1998)