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 Europe to Iran. Dense, pyramidal tree to 40 ft. high and eventually as broad as tall, with drooping outer branches. Purple or yellow fall color.
‘Emerald Avenue’: Upright, heat-resistant; a fine street tree.
‘Fastigiata’: Native from Europe to Iran. This is the variety commonly sold when you buy European hornbeam; and despite its name (‘Fastigiata’ implies very upright growth), it develops an oval-vase shape with age. Grows to about 40 ft. tall. Yellow or purple fall color.
‘Frans Fontaine’: This is the narrowest, to 35 ft. tall and 15 ft. wide, with inward-turning branches.
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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