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Ostrya virginiana

Pronunciation: Oss-tree-uh ver-jin-ee-ay-nuh
Family: Betulaceae (birch family)
Common Name: Eastern hophornbeam, ironwood
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
Height to: 20-40'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -20 to -30ºF ZONE 4
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
Bloom Description: Male and female flowers are borne in separate catkins (hanging, cylindrical clusters) on the same tree. The seeds are enclosed in papery bladderlike husks that are borne in pendant conelike clusters about 2" in length. The husks are pale green, almost white, ripening eventually to brown.
Propagation: Seeds have an inherent dormancy requirement and are difficult to germinate. They must be warm-stratified for several months and then cold-stratified for several months, and still they may take a month or more to germinate.
Notes for Identification: The hophornbeam makes an excellent addition to the woodland garden. It tolerates shade well enough to thrive under larger oaks or pines. It is a handsome specimen along walks, in parks, or in a naturalized garden. The seeds are eaten by many kinds of birds. The wood is close-grained, extremely heavy and very hard, and used for fence posts, tool handles and mallets. The lakota people made bows from the wood of eastern hophornbeam. The tree is not large enough for the wood to be of commercial importance. Eastern hophornbeam is a handsome little tree that is sadly underutilized in landscaping. The trunk, with its shaggy reddish brown bark, is especially attractive in winter, and in some years the autumn foliage ignites to a spectacular bright yellow. The unusual fruiting clusters are eye-catching and long-lasting. For gardeners anywhere in eastern north america, the eastern hophornbeam is a natural for the "native plant" or xeriscape landscape. Plant info from: floridata
Located in: Seed Photos
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