|Type of Tree||Deciduous|
|Mature Height||20-30 feet|
|Light Needs||Full shade|
The American Hornbeam is slow-growing, deciduous, small to medium-sized understory tree with an attractive globular form. Being a native forest understory tree understory tree, it useful for shady landscapes and naturalized or woodland gardens.
It is native to the midwest where it is typically found in rich moist woods, valleys, ravine bottoms and rocky slopes along streams. That said, this tree thrives where many other’s do not – in ‘partly shade’ and ‘mostly shade’ areas in your landscape. It should be noted that this tree can be planted in full sun as well – it is highly adaptable which is why ArborAdvisor recommends this tree for areas with questionable or varying sunlight.
This tree typically grows 20 feet tall by 20 feet wide. The trunk is a unique smooth grey color 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 spring in separate male and female catkins, with the female catkins giving way to distinctive clusters of winged nutlets. New leaves emerge reddish-purple in the spring, changing to dark green, then turn yellow to orange-red in the fall.
The extremely hard wood of this tree will, as the common name suggests, take a horn-like polish and was once used by early Americans to make bowls, tool handles and ox yokes. Commercial use of hornbeam wood is not practicable, however, due to the limited amount of wood that can be harvested per tree.
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