American Hornbeam

Carpinus caroliniana

Leaves are alternate, simple, double-toothed with equal leaf bases.

some leavesThe American hornbeam is also known as the blue beach. It is a small, slow-growing, bushy tree with a spreading top of crooked or drooping branches. The trunk is more or less angular and is usually crooked. It is found mainly on moist slopes, along streams or on deep, moist woodland soils.

The leaf is dull-green above, pale green below and has hairy tufts at the base of the veins. It has depressed veins on the upper surface. The fruit occurs in spikelike clusters in a three-lobed bract, with a small nutlet attached to the outside. The leaf like bract may act as a wing in aiding seed distribution by the wind.

Fluted or irregular ridges like muscles on the smooth bluish gray bark extend up and down on the trunk of the tree and quite definitely identify the tree as the American hornbeam.


Identify Another Tree

This key was developed by "bt" in June 1982. It was put into HTML format by Stephen Ostermiller in July 1997. Copies of the entire guide in zip format that may be taken to camp on a laptop are available to those who write.