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Carpinus caroliniana Walter var. caroliniana

Common names: American hornbeam, blue beech, coastal American hornbeam, ironwood, musclewood.
Synonyms: Carpinus americana A. Michaux, Carpinus caroliniana Walter, Carpinus caroliniana Walter ssp. caroliniana, Carpinus caroliniana Walter ssp. virginiana (Marshall) Furlow, Carpinus caroliniana Walter var. virginiana (Marshall) Fernald.
Family: Betulaceae.

Brief description:
A small, deciduous tree, usually ranging from 415 m (1350 ft.) tall when fully grown. Bark of mature trunks is gray and smooth, sometimes roughened, often with a fluted or sinewy appearance. Leaves are alternate, elliptic to ovate or oblong-ovate in shape, usually with doubly serrate margins. Flowers are in catkins, with separate male and female catkins on the same tree. Fruits are small (49 mm long), brown or tan nuts, each pair of nuts subtended by a conspicuous, three-lobed, leafy bract. American hornbeam is typically an understory tree, most often found in bottomland forests, swamps, or along rivers and streams throughout much of the eastern United States. The sinewy appearance of the trunk accounts for one of its common names, musclewood.

USDA Profile

Herbarium sheet images:
Herbarium sheet image thumbnail Herbarium sheet image thumbnail

Live specimen images:

• Branchlet with leaves • Individual leaf • Branchlet with leaf buds • Close-up of leaf buds • Branchlet with flower buds • Close-up of flower buds •

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