Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)
- Family: Hazelnut (Corylaceae)
- Flowering: April-May.
- Field Marks: The smooth bark with vertical "muscular" ridges distinguishes this species. Each seed is attached to a smooth, 3-lobed bract.
- Habitat: Along streams, low woods, rich mesic woods.
- Habit: Tree up to 30 feet tall, with a rounded crown.
- Bark: Smooth, blue-gray, ridged, appearing "muscular."
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, broadly lanceolate, pointed at the tip, usually rounded at the base, up to 4 inches long, about half as wide, finely doubly toothed, the upper surface smooth, the lower surface smooth or hairy.
- Flowers: Male and female flowers on same tree but in different spikes.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3-12.
- Pistils: Subtended by a bract, with 2 stigmas.
- Fruits: Nutlets borne at the base of a 3-lobed green bract, crowded together into a fruiting cluster.
- Notes: Other common names for this tree are ironwood, blue beech, and musclewood. Although the National Wetlands Inventory lists this species from area 5, no tree manual nor the Atlas of the Flora of the Great Plains by McGregor, et al. (1981) report it for there.
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