Ostrya virginiana - American hop hornbeam

The American hop hornbeam is a small tree of the forest edge, with beautiful foliage. Its range is enormous, from the mountains of Guatemala and Honduras in the south to the northern limit of the deciduous tree belt in Canada, in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. It was brought to Mustila from seed collecting trips to these Canadian provinces in 1993 and 1996.

The seed catkins of the hop hornbeam are very like those of hops (Humulus lupulus), which is how the tree gets its common name. In good seed years these decorative catkins cover the tree from mid-summer onwards. In autumn they change from very pale green to brown at the same time as the leaves turn yellow.

American hop hornbeam grows best in partial shade in rich moist soil, but also seems to thrive in herb-rich heath forest.


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