Family: Betulaceae

Scientific Name: Carpinus caroliniana

Common Name: American Hornbeam, Ironwood


American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) small native tree, found many times growing as an understory. The stem has a muscle-like shape.

Plant TypeTrees Deciduous, Site author's observations
Hardiness Zone(2)3-9
Sunlightfull, shade tolerent
Moistureaverage, does well on moist soils and will tolerate flooding
Soil & Siteaverage, moist
Flowerswind pollinated
Leavesgreen during summer with yellow to oranges fall color
Stemsbark is smooth, gray and fluted, wood very hard and heavy, zig zag twigs
Rootsshallow rooted
Dimensions20-30 feet growing in good sites, single or multiple stems
Propagationseeds need to be warm and cold stratified
Native SiteNative to North America and Canada
Misc FactsHop Hornbeam comes from "horn" for toughness and "beam" an old word for tree. aka Iron Wood
Author's NotesEvery spring I like to walk through the Martins Woods Conservancy in Big Bend, Wisconsin (USA). This tree is prominent as an understory and many have the muscle like ridges on the stem. The area they grow is moist and shaded.
Notes & Reference#01-Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (Michael Dirr), #181-Native Trees for North America (Guy Sternberg), #184-Michigan Trees (Burton V. Barnes, Warren H. Wagner)
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