(Carpinus caroliniana)
The Birch Family (Betulaceae)

American Hornbeam is also known as Ironwood, Blue Beech, and Musclewood. It is a small tree
with a smooth, light colored, "muscled” bark and alternate, deciduous leaves.


Shaded woods, streams, river banks, flood plains, bottomlands.

Interesting Facts: 

Ironwood is not a viable lumber source, but its very strong heartwood makes it a good wood source
for tools and dishware. Host plant for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Striped Hairstreak and Red-spotted Purple butterfly species.

Nutlet with a green three-winged bract found in hanging clusters .
Male flowers: a slender, yellow-green catkin, 1-2” long; Female flowers: fuzzy, yellow-green catkins, .5-.75” long.
Wildlife value: 
Leaves, twigs, and nutlets are a food source for birds and mammals, and a construction material for beavers.
Male Flowers
Leaf type: 
Wildlife value: 
Tree dimensions: 

Leaf length: 3.00-5.00 inches
Tree height: 20.00-40.00 feet

Where to find American Hornbeam on the Louisiana State Arboretum Trails:

BCY - Bald Cypress Loop 1.0

TER - Walker Terrace 7.0

Refer to our Live Map to locate this species and its interpretative signage on the trail system.