- Common Name(s):
- American hornbeam, Ironwood, Musclewood
- Native Plants, Trees
- 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
- 20-30 ft.
- Small, seed-like nutlet
- Sun to partial shade; does well in moist towet soil
- Wide-spreading flat or round top; single or multi-stemmed
- 20-30 ft.
- Growth Rate:
- 2.5-5 in. alternate, simple leaf; yellow, orange, and scarlet fall color (seedling variability)
NCCES plant id: 1930