Hazard Information

Route: Skin/Ingestion     Plant Part: Seeds/Nuts

Scale: Low

Cause soreness of the mouth and throat.

A few of the seeds/nuts will cause the above whereas a higher quantity will induce vomiting, headache, dizziness, fainting.



Common Name(s)


Latin Name

Fagus sylvatica


This tree can grow up to 40 Metres (130ft) high. There are several varieties including Copper Beech. The leaves are light green in Spring, maturing to a darker shade in late Summer. In Autumn dark brown scaly husks fall to the ground, they contain triangular seeds known as Beech nuts. 


It is the seeds or nuts that are poisonous. If only a few are eaten mild symptoms may occur, but larger quantities, the more severe the symptoms.


If only a few seeds or nuts have been eaten soreness of the mouth and throat may occur,  but larger quantities such as fifty or more vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, dizziness and even fainting have been reported. The symptoms usually appear about an hour or two after eating and may continue for several hours.

Flowering Period

The leaves appear in Spring, producing seeds or nuts in late Summer, which fall to the ground in Autumn.


Woodland, in parks used as hedging and ornamental varieties in gardens. Very common in Southern parts of Britain.