Common Trees of the North Carolina Piedmont

Stephen M. Seiberling, Alan S. Weakley, and Peter S. White

Ostrya virginiana (P. Mill.) K. Koch Hop hornbeam, American hop hornbeam, Eastern hop hornbeam, ironwood. Synonyms Ostrya virginiana var. lasia Fern. Family Betulaceae. ITIS Taxonomic Serial Number 19511. USDA PLANTS Symbol OSVI. TROPICOS # 03600027.

Images • Herbarium sheet 1. • Herbarium sheet 2. • Herbarium sheet 3.

Detailed Description:

Plant habit and life style. Plants Angiosperms, monoecious, (5–)10–20(–25) m tall.

Stems. Pith continuous. Young twigs (1-year-old or less) green or orange or reddish-brown, glabrous or glabrate or pubescent, pilose or stipitate glandular or villous. Twigs (2–4 years old) glabrous or pubescent. Leaf scars crescent-shaped or oval, bundle scars 3 per leaf scar, stipule scars present, stipule scars not circumferential. Bark of mature trunks flaky or shreddy.

Buds. Buds axillary, reddish-brown, 3–6 mm long, ovoid, sharp, glabrous or glabrate or pubescent, puberulent, bud scales imbricate.

Leaves. Leaves deciduous, simple, petiolate, alternate or spiral, (2–)8–10(–15) cm long, (1.2–)4–5(–7.6) cm wide, elliptic or lanceolate or oval or ovate, leaf margins serrate or doubly serrate, leaf apices acuminate or acute, leaf bases cordate or cuneate or oblique or rounded. Leaf upper surface green or yellow-green, glabrous. Leaf lower surface green, pubescent or with tufts in vein axils. Leaf venation pinnate. Petioles 0.2–1.3 cm long, glabrous or pubescent. Stipules present, caducous, not circumferential.

Flowers. Flowering January or February or March or April or May or December. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, catkins, flowers sessile or stalked. Flowers unisexual or pistillate or staminate, epigynous. Perianth. Corolla absent. Androecium. Stamens 3(–6) per flower. Gynoecium. Ovaries inferior, pistils 1 per flower. Gynoecium syncarpous, 2 carpels per flower, styles 2 per pistil, placentation axile. Other floral features. Hypanthia present.

Fruits. Fruits accessory fruits or nuts, 0.5–0.8 cm long, brown or tan, fruit maturation 1 years.

Habitat. Habitat bottomland forests or dry-mesic upland forests or mesic upland forests or mixed forest edges.

Special Diagnostic Characters. Nuts enclosed in a bladder-like sac derived from bracts which are clustered in cone-like structures having the apearance of hops.

Cite this publication as: ‘Stephen M. Seiberling, Alan S. Weakley, and Peter S. White (2005 onwards). Common Trees of the North Carolina Piedmont: Identification, Descriptions, Illustrations, and Glossary. Version: March 7, 2006. <>’.

Back to Contents