American Hophornbeam

Ostrya virginiana

Trail Location: 29
Common Name: American Hophornbeam
Scientific Name: Ostrya virginiana
Family: Betulaceae
Flower: Minimal

American Hophornbeam is a deciduous understory tree with a generally rounded crown. Typically grows 25-40 ft tall with a slightly smaller spread.  Features birch-like, oval to lance-shaped, sharply-serrated, dark yellowish-green leaves (to 5 inches long). Leaves turn an undistinguished yellow in autumn and often drop early. The flowers are reddish-brown male flowers and also greenish female flowers appear in separate catkins on the same tree. Flowers are not particularly showy, although the male catkins are more prominent and are present throughout winter. Female catkins are followed by drooping clusters of sac-like, seed-bearing pods which, as the common name suggests, somewhat resemble the fruit of hops. Also commonly called ironwood because of its extremely hard and dense wood.

Tree image: