eastern hophornbeam
Ostrya virginiana (Mill.) K. Koch
  • LEAVES: alternate, simple, deciduous, two-ranked on twigs; blades ovate to lanceolate or oblong, 3-5” long by 1.5-2.5” wide, apex acuminate, base rounded, slightly cordate, or cuneate (wedge-shaped), soft-pubescent; margins doubly serrate, lateral veins usually fork near the leaf margin
  • FLOWER: imperfect, plants monoecious; flowers of both sexes in catkins, staminate catkins pre-formed the previous fall and thus locate near the tips of previous year’s twigs, 0.75-1.5” long with firm reddish-brown bracts; female catkins inconspicuous, born singly at tips of current-year twigs, erect, to ca. 0.3” long
  • FRUIT: nutlet, enclosed in papery inflated bracts; fruiting catkins resembling hops, 1.5-2” long by 1” wide, persisting through summer
  • TWIGS: slender, forming zigzag pattern, yellow-brown to orange-brown
  • BARK: light reddish brown shreddy bark, shreds of bark narrow
  • FORM: small tree, 30-50’ tall x 10” dbh
  • HABITAT: mesic well-drained forests; drier sited than Carpinus caroliniana, but the two can grow in close proximity on lower slopes
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative Upland (FACU): Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: eastern US, barely extending into southern Canada  [USGS Range MAP]
  • USES: wood seldom used, hard wood, used for tool handles, posts, golf clubs, mallets; ornamental
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. loose, reddish brown shreddy bark (note that bark is not always conspicuously exfoliating/shredding)
    2. leaves pubescent with doubly serrate margins
    3. lateral veins fork just before reaching the leaf margin
    4. distinctive fruiting catkins resemble clusters of hops