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Carpinus betulus (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Carpinus betulus (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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Zone
Zones 1-9, 14-17
Full SunPartial SunNo Sun
Full, Partial, Shade
Regular Water
Moderate

Carpinus caroliniana

American Hornbeam
Betulaceae
Deciduous, Trees

CARPINUS

Well-behaved, relatively small shade trees. Long life and good habits as street trees. Slow to moderate growth rate. Very hard, tough, heavy wood. Dark green, sawtooth-edged leaves color up in cold-winter climates, hang on late in season. Fruits (small, hard nutlets in leaflike bracts) are carried in attractive drooping clusters to 5 in. long. Mature trees need little or no pruning.

Carpinus caroliniana (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Carpinus caroliniana (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

Click to Enlarge

Carpinus caroliniana

Native to eastern North America. Round headed, grows to 25–30 ft. tall and wide, sometimes larger; can be single- or multitrunked. Smooth blue-gray bark has undulations that look like muscles flexing. Leaves turn mottled yellow and red (sometimes mostly yellow) in fall; ‘Native Flame’ leaves turn red. All drop ahead of C. betulus. Succeeds in full sun to heavy shade.

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