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Carpinus caroliniana

Common Names: American Hornbeam, Musclewood, Ironwood, Blue Beech
Carpinus caroliniana
Carpinus caroliniana

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fagales
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Carpinus
Species: Carpinus caroliniana

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

American hornbeam is a small tree, growing up to 30 feet tall. It’s bark is a blueish gray, smooth, rippled, and muscular-looking.

The leaves are alternate and simple. They’re 1 to 5 inches long, tear-shaped, double-toothed, and have non-forked parallel veins.

In the fall, the leaves turn orange-scarlet.

Habitat & Range

American hornbeams are found throughout the eastern half of the United States, growing along streams.

Life Cycle

The fruits of American hornbeam are 3" wide and are 3-pointed leafy clusters with tiny nuts.

Featured image by James Dake.


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