Here's an understory tree that produces fall colors in yellow with hints of orange, maroon and sometimes bright red.
It grows 20 to 30 feet and has the nickname musclewood because the trunk looks like muscles and sinews are straining to hold the tree up.
The best fall color is in full sun although Hornbeam also tolerates full shade. It makes a great specimen and can be pruned to form a hedge.
Hornbeam is a host for several moth and butterfly species including the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Songbirds, squirrels, wild turkeys, ruffed grouse, foxes and other critters eat the seeds and buds.
Read our blog on Hornbeam here
- Latin: Carpinus caroliniana
- Pollinator value: Medium
- Current size: Seedling
- Mature size: 20 to 30 feet tall and wide
- Light: Full sun to full shade
- Soil: Moist, periodic flooding or drought
- Bloom: Yellow tinged with purple, spring
- Foliage: Yellow, orange and red fall
- Native range: Bottomlands, swamps, understory floodplain
- More information here and here