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Ostrya virginiana

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Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Trees, Deciduous

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: low

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: acid, neutral, alkaline, rich, average, poor, loam, clay, sand, gravel/rock

Height: 30'-50'

Bloom Time: March, April, May, June

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts birds, drought tolerant, fall interest, shade garden plant, showy fruit

Ostrya virginiana (hophornbeam)
  • Ostrya virginiana (hophornbeam)
  • Ostrya virginiana (hophornbeam)
  • Ostrya virginiana (hophornbeam)
  • Ostrya virginiana (hophornbeam)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Ostrya virginiana

Also known as:

ironwood

,

hophornbeam

,

eastern hop-hornbeam

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Though Ostrya virginiana is commonly an understory tree, it will also thrive in full sun where it can reach heights of up to 50'. Mature specimens have reddish, scaly pealing bark. Catkins emerge at the same time as the new leaves. It produces nutlets contained in papery clusters resembling hops. These are attractive and persist well into winter, providing a valuable food source for wildlife. The oval serrated leaves are typical of other members of the Birch family, and turn yellow in fall.

Cultivation

Ironwood is easily grown in any light and soil condition, provided it is given proper drainage. It is drought resistant, has a shallow root system, and is intolerant of persistently wet soils. Due to its extensive native range, it may bloom as early as March in the south, and as late as June in the north. Zones 3-8

Propagation

Propagate from freshly collected seeds, that have been carefully and thoroughly removed from their papery casings. Stored seeds will do best if subjected to cold stratification.

Additional Notes

This slow growing tree can be used as an alternative to introduced elms and is well adapted to urban environments. It produces the hardest wood of any north American native tree, giving it the common name ironwood. The common name hophornbeam, is a reference to the similarities between its fruit, and hops.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Hamamelididae
Order Fagales
Family Betulaceae Birch family
Genus Ostrya hophornbeam
Species Ostrya virginiana ironwood