American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)
Family: Betulaceae

Form: This is a small tree reaching 30 - 40 ft. in height and around 2 ft. in dbh.




Arrangement: alternate; simple, pinnate

Shape: ovate to oval

Margin: doubly serrate

Texture: glabrous below

Venation: parallel


Bark: It has thin, smooth, blue-gray, muscular, bark. 
Twigs and buds: Zigzagging twigs are gray to red in color. Buds are angled in cross section.

Flowers and fruit: The fruit is a ribbed nutlet.



Distinguishing characteristics: Look for the muscular bark, alternate and doubly serrated leaves, and zigzagging twigs.



Range: Central Maine to central Iowa south to Florida.



Silvics: It is very tolerant of shade and grows on moist uplands, bottom lands, stream banks.



Ecological and cultural importance: It is also called ironwood or blue beech. The wood has been used for tool handles and golf club heads. Ruffed grouse and ring neck pheasants eat limited quantities of seeds. When acorns are scarce seeds are eaten by ducks.