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.
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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