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Carpinus caroliniana

Common Name(s):
Ironwood, Musclewood, American hornbeam
Categories:
Native Plants, Trees
Comment:
Also know as Musclewood, Ironwood, Blue Beech, and Water Beech trees.

American Hornberm is a short, stubby tree that grows up to thirty feet tall and can have one or more trunks, each a foot wide.The bark is bluish-gray, thin, and fairly smooth. The leaves of this tree grow to four inches long and two inches wide. They are simple leaves with a pointed tip and teeth on the edges. These leaves turn orangish-red in the Fall.

Flowers are tiny greenish catkins, about one and a half inches longblooming in early Spring.

Fruits are oval-shaped, hairy, and green. They are small, only 1/4 inch long, and they hang in clusters from a shared stalk. Red-spotted Purple and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies use hornbeam as a host plant. They also provide good cover and shelter for animals.  The American Hornbeams are usually an understory tree.

Best growth and development of American hornbeam occurs on rich, wet-mesic sites, but it is not restricted to such sites and can tolerate a wide variety of conditions.  
Native; difficult to transplant; good street tree; sculptural appearance of trunk (smooth, fluted, ridges); very hard wood

 

Height:
20-30 ft.
Flower:
Small, seed-like nutlet
Zones:
3-9
Habit:
Deciduous
Site:
Sun to partial shade; does well in moist towet soil
Texture:
Medium
Form:
Wide-spreading flat or round top; single or multi-stemmed
Width:
20-30 ft.
Growth Rate:
Slow
Leaf:
2.5-5 in. alternate, simple leaf; yellow, orange, and scarlet fall color (seedling variability)
Tags:
deciduous

NCCES plant id: 1930