The European Beech has the darkest gray bark and darkest green leaves of all the Beeches. Some leaves are held late into the winter and the smooth bark is quite ornamental. The most distinctive feature of the Beech is its unmistakable cigar-shaped buds. These buds are rather tender and the Beech does not produce secondary buds. Nature’s way of protecting these buds is for the Beech to retain its dead leaves throughout the winter. Deciduous. Keep outdoors.