FloraFinder.org
Home   About Us   Want to Help?   FAQ  
Searching   Image Use Biblio

Ostrya virginiana

Ostrya virginiana (Mill.) K. Koch

 

Eastern Hophornbeam, Ironwood, Hophornbeam

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderFagalesBirch, she-oak, beech, walnut, bayberry, others
FamilyBetulaceaeBirch family: birches, alders, hazels, hornbeams and hop-hornbeams
GenusOstryaFrom the Greek word ostrua, “bone-like,” referring to the very hard wood
Speciesvirginiana“From Virginia”

About plant names...

The “hop” in hophornbeam comes from the resemblance between its fruits and those of hops. Hophornbeam and hornbeam are both named for their extremely durable wood, the only woods strong enough to make yokes for oxen, but they have little else in common and are not related.

Identification: Trees are 20-30' (6.1-9.1 m) in height, with loose strips of peeling bark that is reddish- to gray-brown. Flowers are catkins, narrow drooping structures. Male catkins are ¾-1¾" (2-5 cm) long; female catkins are ¼-½" (8-15 mm) long. Leaves are unlobed, alternate, 1¾-5" (5-13 cm) × 1½-2" (4-6 cm), with double serrations on the edges. Leaf tops are yellow-green, bottoms pale green. The fruits are brown nuts ¹/₁₆-³/₁₆" (3-5 mm) long, in conelike drooping clusters enclosed in white papery sacs.

Hornbeam and hophornbeam are unrelated and quite different in appearance:

 

Ostrya virginiana (Eastern Hophornbeam, Ironwood, Hophornbeam)

1/1/2012 · Big Tree Trail • Tudor Richards Natural History and Forest Trail, Hollis, NH
≈ 21 × 31" (52 × 78 cm)

Ostrya virginiana (Eastern Hophornbeam, Ironwood, Hophornbeam)

1/1/2012 · Big Tree Trail • Tudor Richards Natural History and Forest Trail, Hollis, NH
≈ 21 × 31" (52 × 78 cm)

  You are here
Ostrya virginiana

Carpinus caroliniana
Common Name

Eastern Hophornbeam

American Hornbeam
Plant Small tree, to 20-30' (6.1-9.1 m). Bark reddish brown to gray brown, in loose strips. Trees reach 33-49' (10-15 m), and often have multiple stems. Bark is smooth, dark bluish gray, furrowed near the base in older trees. The trunks are often fluted with vertical depressions that look a little like rippling muscles.
Flowers Male catkins are ¾-1¾" (2-5 cm) long; female catkins are ¼-½" (8-15 mm) long Female flowers are white; male are green—both occur on the same tree.
Leaves Unlobed, alternating, 1¾-5" (5-13 cm) × 1½-2" (4-6 cm), with double serrations on the edges. Tops are yellow-green, bottoms are pale green. Dark green, alternate, 1-4½" (3-12 cm) long, with prominent parallel veins and fine serrations or double serrations.
Fruit Brown nuts ¹/₁₆-³/₁₆" (3-5 mm) long, in conelike drooping clusters enclosed in white papery sacs. A small ribbed nut ¼-⁵/₁₆" (7-8 mm) long, surrounded by a three- to seven-pointed leaf group called an involucre, ¾-1" (2-3 cm) long. The involucres occur in clusters, and remain on the tree after other leaves drop.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 3-9

USDA Zones: 3-9
Habitats River banks, swamp edges, flood plains, in fertile soil, both moist and dry Rich wet soils such as floodplains, swamps, or mucks
Type Wild Wild

 

Online References:

Ostrya virginiana on Carolina Nature, from Will Cook

Ostrya virginiana at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Cofrin Center for Biodiversity

Ostrya virginiana at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Ostrya virginiana on Wikipedia

Ostrya virginiana at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Ostrya virginiana on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Ostrya virginiana on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Ostrya virginiana on hort.ifas.ufl.edu (PDF)

Ostrya virginiana on eFloras

Ostrya virginiana description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 15 Oct 2013.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Range: Zones 3-9:

About this map...