Ostrya virginiana - Eastern Hop Hornbeam


A tree with a trunk that looks like sinewy muscles and a rounded crown of slender, spreading branches. Eastern hop-hornbeam or ironweed is a graceful, understory tree, typically growing 30-50 ft. Conical shape, especially when young, the deciduous tree becomes more rounded at maturity. Loose bark, in narrow, rectilinear strips, covers the often twisting trunk. Catkins appear just before or with the appearance of new leaves. Oval-pointed, mature leaves vary in size and turn a mild yellow in fall. Fruits are borne in a hanging, hoplike structure.The common name refers to the resemblance of the fruit clusters to hops, an ingredient of beer. The nutlets and buds are eaten by wildlife, such as bobwhites, pheasants, grouse, deer, and rabbits. Also called Ironwood, for its extremely hard tough wood, which is used for tool handles, small wooden articles, and fenceposts. Planted as an ornamental but slow-growing.