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European Hornbeam

Carpinus betulus

Leaves: Deciduous. Leaves 2½ to 5 inches long by 1 to 2 inches wide and have parallel veins that stick out prominently on the underside of the leaf. Upper leaf is smooth to the touch. Leaf edges are covered in many little teeth like a saw. Bright, medium green color. Yellow fall color.

Bark/Twigs: Bark is smooth, thin, grey, and hard. Trunk is often fluted.

Flowers/Fruit: Inconspicuous flowers in spring. Fruit is a small nutlet that grows on a distinctive 3-lobed bract in loose clusters.

Mature size and shape: Large. 35 to 50 feet high x 20 to 40 feet wide. Pyramidal shape with a rounded top. Very formal. Maintains its form without much pruning. Dense growth pattern.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun. Tolerates partial shade. Well-drained soil is best, but widely tolerant of a variety of soil textures.

Landscape use and maintenance: Large, good shade tree. No major diseases or pests. Slow to medium growing rate. Average maintenance. Pruning is seldom required. Transplanted best in the spring.

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 to 8

Family/Origin: Betulaceae – Birch. Native to Europe and Asia minor.

Campus Use: Common. Can be found south of Park Building (Bld 1) or in plaza east of Marriott Library (Bld 86).

Last Updated: 6/3/22