The Japanese hornbeam is perhaps one of the most slender of the genus. Typical of many Japanese trees, it has broad slightly drooping branches. The leaves are long, strongly veined and have toothed edges; the seed catkins are long and drooping. Like the other hornbeams, this species is fairly undemanding about where it grows but is perhaps best under the canopy of larger trees or in occasional shade, like in its native habitat.
The autumn colour is unexceptional and the leaves fall late. In summer the deep green foliage and in autumn the browning seed catkins make it irresistibly attractive. It doesn’t grow very large but its broad, slightly shrubby habit requires plenty of room.
There has been little long-term experience of growing this species in Finland. The trees at Mustila, which can be found among the ashes at the lower end of the Atsalearinne (Azalea Slope), are still young. Seeds of a suitable provenance might well succeed at least in the southernmost parts of the country.