plant-banner1

Plant Details

Carpinus caroliniana

American Hornbeam, Ironwood, Musclewood, Blue Beech

Scientific Name:

Carpinus caroliniana

Genus:

Carpinus

Species Epithet:

caroliniana

Common Name:

American Hornbeam, Ironwood, Musclewood, Blue Beech

Plant Type

Tree

Life Cycle

Perennial

Plant Family

Betulaceae (Birch Family)

Native/Alien:

NC Native

Invasive Status:

(*Key)

Size:

12-36 ft.

Bloom Color(s):

Red, Green

Light:

Part Shade - 2 to 6 hours of sun per day, Less than 2 hours of sun per day

Soil Moisture:

Moist

Bloom Time:

March, April

Growing Area:

Mountains, Piedmont, Sandhills, Coastal Plain

Habitat Description:

Var. caroliniana (Coastal American Hornbeam): Streambanks, riverbanks, bottomland forests, lower slopes, maritime forests. Uncommon in NC piedmont, common in coastal plain.
Var. virginiana (Inland American Hornbeam): Rich cove forests, streambanks, riverbanks, bottomland forests, lower slopes. Common in NC mountains and piedmont.

Leaf Arrangement:

Alternate

Leaf Retention:

Deciduous

Leaf Type:

Leaves veined, not needle-like or scale-like

Leaf Form:

Simple

Life Cycle:

Perennial

Wildlife Value:

Important for Wildlife

Landscape Value:

Suitable for home landscapes

State Rank:

S5: Secure (*Key)

Global Rank:

G5 - Secure (*Key)

Notes:

2 varieties in NC. Beautiful trunk shape.

American Hornbeam is often called musclewood or blue beech because of its smooth, sinewy bark. It is also called musclewood; wood of American Hornbeam is hard and strong, used for tool handles, mallets, and heads of golf clubs.

Will Stuart

Male catkins emerge in mid-March before the tree leafs out.

Will Stuart

Female catkins are much smaller with emerging bright red pistils.

Leaves are elliptical to ovate, doubly serrate.

Will Stuart

A well-maintained grouping of Carpinus caroliniana at the North Carolina Arboretum.

Will Stuart

Colorful new Spring leaves

Garden in Orange County, NC

Bettina Darveaux

Links:

USDA PLANTS Database Record

Vascular Plants of NC: https://auth1.dpr.ncparks.gov/flora/species_account.php

NC Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/carpinus-caroliniana/

Native Plant Trust’s Go Botany: https://gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org/species/carpinus/caroliniana/

https://nc.audubon.org/700



Permalink - (right click to save this page to your bookmarks)

<<< PREVIOUS

NEXT >>>

back to top
go to plant details search
go to plant images search
go to gallery home
back to Initial c Gallery
back to orchids
back to Carnivorous Plants
back to Trilliums