T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
Hop-Hornbeam Catkins - Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, Bugwood.orgT. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.orgHop-Hornbeam Leaves - Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org

Hop-Hornbeam – 12-18″ (2-0)

Hop-hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), also known as ironwood, is a slow-growing understory tree that can reach 40 feet in height.  It prefers dry to moderate soils and tolerates a wide range of soil fertility.  Hop-hornbeam is fairly free of disease and insects.  Its nutlet fruits are good fall and winter forage for birds and other wildlife, and its thick leaves and tight branches provide good nesting sites for songbirds.  Since it prefers shade, it’s a good way to fill and open understory.  Deer usually choose to browse other plants first.

SKU: HH-1218. Categories: , .

Product Description

  • Seedling Size:  12-18″
  • Seedling Age:  2-0
  • Mature Height:  25 – 40 feet
  • Mature Width:  5 – 12 feet
  • Soil Type:  Well-drained, Slightly Acidic
  • Moisture:  Dry, Moderate
  • Sun:  Shade
  • Growth Rate:  Slow, Medium

Key Characteristics of Hop-Hornbeam

  • Cone-like flowers emerge in early spring.  Pollen is a good source of protein for wildlife.
  • Bark is grey-brown and “shreddy.”  Beneficial insects may overwinter in the bark’s shelter.
  • Leaves are simple and obovate with sharply double toothed margins.
  • Fruits are a nutlet inside a dry husk, grouped to form a hop-like cluster.  The tree gets its name from its unique fruits.

Visitors Attracted to Hop-Hornbeam

Did You Know?

Hop-hornbeam is an extremely strong and durable wood, and has been used for tool handles and sled runners because it can take the stress.  The meaning of the name hop-hornbeam is broken down in several ways: “hop” refers to the similarity of the fruit clusters to hops, an ingredient in beer-making; “horn” refers to the hardness of the wood; and “beam” comes from an archaic English word for tree (via Canadian Tree Tours).