There are several named red-leaf varieties of the common or European beech, and the nomenclature can be quite confusing, but typically they include the word “purpurea” in some form or other. These coppery or red leaved varieties are said to have originated from a tree found in Thüringen in Germany in the 1700s, and plants started to appear in nursery catalogues in the early 1800s. They can also be grown from seed, when the colour of the leaves varies; depending on the variety, their redness can remain the same throughout the summer or can almost totally disappear, giving way to green. However, the colour is usually at its showy best when leaves break, and again in autumn before leaf fall.
Copper beech develops into a large tree with a round crown, requiring lots of room and living for perhaps hundreds of years, so it isn’t really suited to small gardens. In Finland it has proved fairly hardy on the south coast, perhaps due to its continental origin.