Hop Hornbeam. Credit: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org
Eastern hop hornbeam
Ironwood hornbeam tree
Hop hornbeams are relatively small trees with extremely hard and durable wood. They are often confused with ironwood trees (Carpinus caroliniana), and the term "ironwood" is applied to both species in some texts. Hop hornbeam is a common tree throughout the eastern United States and occurs in a variety of habitats, ranging from stream banks to upland woods to dry, rocky slopes and ridges.
Hop hornbeam is a small tree that typically reaches a maximum height of 30 feet. It has a short straight trunk that reaches a foot in diamter, and a broad, rounded or vase-shaped crown. The bark of the hop hornbeam is reddish-brown and smooth with small, ringed holes when young, and gray-brown, loose and scaly as the tree matures. The tree's leaves are 2-4 inches long and lance shaped or oval, with double-toothed edges. The leaves are dark green relatively smooth on top and paler and hairier on the underneath side. Hop hornbeam trees produce clusters of papery sacks that contain nutlets.
Hop hornbeams occur in a wide variety of habitats, ranging from stream banks to upland woods to dry, rocky slopes and ridges. It prefers moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soils, but is also tolerant of very dry soils and shade.
Hophornbeam leaves and flowers. Credit: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The Mammoths and Mastodont Project Team gratefully acknowledges their support.