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Hop Hornbeam Ostrya virginiana

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
OSS-tree-uh vir-jin-ee-AN-uh
Description

Ostrya virginiana, commonly called American hop hornbeam, is a deciduous tree which usually occurs in dry soils on rocky slopes, upland woods, and bluffs. A small to medium-sized, understory tree with a generally rounded crown. It typically grows 25-40' tall with a slightly smaller spread.

A native deciduous shade tree in the Betulaceae family.  The leaves look similar to and can be confused with birch trees, and its overall form can sometimes be confused with an elm tree.  It has shaggy bark that provides winter interest.  Eastern hophornbeam is small to medium understory tree.  It is low maintenance and works well in urban settings, probably because it tolerates drought and heavy clay soils.  Plant in a lawn, along a driveway, street, or in a woodland garden.  It is sometimes referred to as "ironwood" because of its extremely hard and dense wood.

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Seasons of Interest:

   Bloom: Spring, April  Fruit: Summer-Winter   Bark: Winter

Wildlife Value:  This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  It is a possible host plant for the Red-spotted purple and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies.  Its nutlets are eaten by songbirds, wild turkey, quail and other small mammals.  Witches broom that commonly occurs on this tree provides a home to many invertebrates eaten by songbirds, especially during the winter.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Pest Problems: No serious insect or disease problems.

This plant may be confused with: Betula lenta, Betula alleghaniensisCarpinus carolinianaAlnus serrulata

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#butterflies#deciduous#small tree#shade tree#songbirds#bark#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#native tree#low maintenance#clay soil#street tree#showy fruits#lawn tree#showy bark#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#native garden#fire resistant#woodland#Braham Arboretum
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#butterflies#deciduous#small tree#shade tree#songbirds#bark#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#native tree#low maintenance#clay soil#street tree#showy fruits#lawn tree#showy bark#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#native garden#fire resistant#woodland#Braham Arboretum
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ostrya
    Species:
    virginiana
    Family:
    Betulaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    fence posts, fuel, and tool handles, inner wood was used to treat toothache, sore muscles, and coughs by Native Americans
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North and Central America, NC
    Distribution:
    Range from FL west to TX northwest to Wyoming north to Manitoba east to Nova Scotia
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    nutlet is used as a winter food for ring-necked pheasants, rabbits, grouse, turkeys, deer, squirrels, and some songbirds
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 25 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 8 in. - 1 ft. 8 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    1/4 inch nutlet is enclosed in a dried, leafy, inflated sac
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Winter
    Flower Description:
    The flowers of the Hop Hornbeam are monoecious catkins that appear on the same tree in April, Red-brown (male), light green (female). The fowers are not particularly showy, although the male catkins are more prominent and are present throughout winter. Female catkins are followed by drooping clusters of sac-like, seed-bearing pods which, as the common name suggests, somewhat resemble the fruit of hops and persist from summer through winter.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Doubly Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The Hop hornbeam features birch-like, oval to lance-shaped, sharply-serrated, dark yellowish-green leaves (to 5" long). The leaves turn an undistinguished yellow in autumn and often drop early.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Fire