Botanical Name: Carpinus betulus
Distegocarpus Siebold & Zucc
Common Names: Hornbeam, European hornbeam, Common Hornbeam, European Hornbeam
( The common English name hornbeam derives from the hardness of the woods (likened to horn) and the Old English beam “tree” (cognate with German Baum). The American hornbeam is also occasionally known as blue-beech, ironwood, or musclewood, the first from the resemblance of the bark to that of the American beech Fagus grandifolia, the other two from the hardness of the wood and the muscular appearance of the trunk, respectively. The botanic name for the genus, Carpinus, is the original Latin name for the European species.)
The 30–40 species occur across much of the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, with the greatest number of species in east Asia, particularly China. Only two species occur in Europe, only one in eastern North America, and one in Mesoamerica. Carpinus betulus can be found in Europe, Turkey and Ukraine.It grows on woodlands and hedgerows on sandy or clay loams, preferring heavier soil
Hornbeams are small to medium-sized trees, Carpinus betulus reaching a height of 32 m. The leaves are deciduous, alternate, and simple with a serrated margin, and typically vary from 3–10 cm in length. The flowers are wind-pollinated pendulous catkins, produced in spring. The male and female flowers are on separate catkins, but on the same tree (monoecious). The fruit is a small nut about 3–6 mm long, held in a leafy bract; the bract may be either trilobed or simple oval, and is slightly asymmetrical. The asymmetry of the seedwing makes it spin as it falls, improving wind dispersal. The shape of the wing is important in the identification of different hornbeam species. Typically, 10–30 seeds are on each seed catkin.
Prefers a deep open loam and does well on damp clays. Succeeds in all but the most acid soils. Dormant trees are very cold tolerant, the young growth is not usually damaged by late spring frosts. The trees cast a deep shade. A very ornamental plant. Trees are shallow-rooted. The hornbeam has 28 species of associated insects. Trees take 10 – 20 years from seed before they produce seed and about 100 years to reach maturity. At one time this tree was commonly pollarded or coppiced for its wood and for fuel. Special Features: Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
The leaves are haemostatic. They are used in external compresses to stop bleeding and heal wounds. A distilled water made from the leaves is an effective eye lotion. The leaves are harvested in August and dried for later use. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are ‘Tiredness’, ‘Weariness’ and ‘Mental and physical exhaustion’.
Plants can be grown as a medium to tall hedge, they retain their dead leaves throughout the winter if clipped at least once a year in late summer. They should not be clipped in spring since they will bleed profusely. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark. Wood – heavy, close grained, hard, very tough, very durable, not very durable according to another report. Used for flooring, cogs, tools, piano mechanisms etc.Dried woo is a good fuel.
Landscape Uses:Espalier, Pest tolerant, Hedge, Superior hedge, Specimen, Street tree. Thrives in any good loam, including chalk, it does not demand much light.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.