Hornbeam: characteristics of the plant

Thehornbeamorhornbeam(Ostrua carpinifolia) is atreeof the Betulaceae family. It is very similar to thehornbeamwith which it shares many characteristics of thebirches.

It has a straight trunk and a very dense, slightly elongated crown. The leaves are oval, elongated and have a serrated edge. The fruits are achenes.

Thehornbeamit is famous for the quality of its wood and the beauty of its leaves: hornbeam hedges (white or black hornbeam) are very common. The choice between black and white hornbeam is not made for aesthetic criteria (the two plants are very similar) but concerns the quality of the soil that will host the hedge.

The height of the hornbeam is more moderate: the plant generally grows up to 10 meters, only in rare cases it reaches a maximum of 15 meters.

Hornbeam: flowers and fruits

In theimagesabove it is possible to observe the trunk, the flowers and the fruits of the hornbeam. Flowers, leaves and fruits are very similar to those of thehornbeam. The fruit resembles a small cone where each seed is enclosed in a pointed pocket. The spread of the seeds is ensured by the wind.

The fruits ripen (among the images above, it is the first on the right) in autumn and, opening up, they let the seeds go to the wind. The leaves appear lush green from spring to summer.

In autumn and winter, however, the plant shows its owntrunknaked. In the central image of the photo above, it is shown how iflowersin spring.

Its bark tends to be smooth, gray-brown on younger specimens and dark brown on more mature trees. The wood is very heavy, hard.

To grow well, thehornbeamit needs hot summers and rainy winters. The decline ofhornbeam forestsin Italy and Europe, it is not associated with habitat destruction or climate change but has been related to the problem of illegal logging. Hornbeam wood is widely used as a fuel and the decline of this species has been associated with excessive use of its wood.

Parasites on the hornbeam

If you have a hornbeam hedge or in your garden you are growing, for ornamental purposes, trees ofhornbeam, you may notice parasite infestations.

Hornbeam is highly prone to plant mite infestations. They are recognized by very evident symptoms such as the presence of a sort of spider web that wraps leaves and shoots. Mites attack hornbeam especially when the weather is hot and dry. Other symptoms include discolored leaves, yellow leaves, bronze colored leaves and a more general deterioration of vegetation.

Mites can attack both white and black hornbeams. What to do? To eliminate these parasites it is possible to use specific acaricides. To avoid the use of plant protection products, it is possible to use natural remedies such as:

  • Carry out a pruning to ventilate the innermost parts of the plant.
  • Distribute water on the leaves.
  • Eliminate yellowed and withered vegetation.

Hornbeam and hornbeam: differences

Thehornbeam(Ostrya carpinifolia) is very similar to thehornbeamor common hornbeam (Carpinus betulus). Thehornbeamreaches a 'heightmaximum of 15 meters, the height ofhornbeamit goes beyond 15 meters, so much so that sometimes it even reaches 18-20 meters. The two plants are very similar but despite the similarity they are rarely confused because they thrive in two different habitats.

We talk abouthornbeamishornbeam especially in reference to the color of the wood. The wood ofhornbeamis gray-white, the hornbeam woodit is red-brown. Both species are famous for the high density of wood: the hornbeam wood it is popular for its excellent calorific value.

Due to its high calorific value, the hornbeam is often grown for the production of firewood. Given the great hardness and wear resistance, with thehornbeam woodfurniture (in particular chairs), musical instruments, rollers, hammers, brackets and spindles are produced.

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Video: Korean Hornbeam (May 2021).