Scientific Name: Carpinus caroliniana
Tree ID: 168
Mature Size: 20-35′ T x 20-35′ W
Memorial: Patricia Michelson Doughty
The American Hornbeam is a slow-growing, native, deciduous, small to medium-sized understory tree with an attractive globular form. It requires little maintenance and easily grows in average, medium moisture-soil in part shade to full shade. It prefers organically rich soils. The smooth, gray trunk and larger branches of a mature tree exhibit a distinctive muscle-like fluting that has given rise to another common name of musclewood for this tree. Flowers appear in the spring in separate male and female catkins, with the female catkins giving way to distinctive clusters of winged nutlets. Serrated, elliptical, dark green leaves often produce respectable shades of yellow, orange and red in the fall. The extremely hard wood of this tree will, as the common names suggests, take a horn-like polish and was once used by early Americans to make bowls, tool handles and ox yokes.