Description from Flora of China
Trees deciduous. Bark smooth. Winter buds elongated, reddish brown, apex acute. Leaves alternate, 2-ranked, plicate in bud; secondary veins ± parallel. Male inflorescence in leaf axils toward base of branchlets, a lax pedunculate head; flowers many; perianth 4-7-lobed; stamens 8-16; rudimentary ovary pubescent. Female inflorescences in axils of leaves; flowers usually 2, subtended by a single (3-or)4-parted cupule and surrounded by numerous bracts; styles 3, recurved. Cupules woody, (3 or)4-valved; bracts leaflike or filiform to short, triangular. Nuts (1 or)2(or 3), ovoid to 3-sided. Germination epigeal; cotyledons plicate.
Ten species: N temperate regions; four species (three endemic) in China.
The status of Fagus chienii W. C. Cheng (Contr. Biol. Lab. Chin. Assoc. Advancem. Sci., Sect. Bot. 10: 70. 1935) is uncertain. It is only known from the type collection (Pingwu,
Sichuan) and is similar to F. lucida, except for having longer recurved cupule bracts.
Important timber trees.