Korean hornbeam is a small extremely beautiful tree with a regular round crown, but it is seldom seen in western gardens. In Finland this East Asian species hardly reaches apple tree dimensions. The leaves are deep green, shiny, with toothed edges, grouped in decorative clusters typical of the hornbeams. They are a bronze colour in spring, while in autumn they turn a blazing orange-yellow, sometimes with interesting, clearly defined splashes of red. The trees are also decorated in autumn by the nutlets in their paper-lantern dangling clusters, typical of the hornbeam genus.
Slow-growing and adapted to dry conditions, the Korean hornbeam is a popular species for bonsai. The tree’s hardiness in Finnish conditions is still a matter for doubt, because it has been so little tested. In Sweden it has shown promise, and at Mustila, too. In its native habitat in the mountain forests of northern China and Korean it has to survive extremely cold winters, but the summer climate there is much warmer than in Finland.