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Ostrya carpinifolia

(European Hop Hornbeam)


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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Catalan, Valencian:


Common Names in Danish:

Almindelig Humlebøg

Common Names in Dutch:

Europese hopbeuk

Common Names in English:

European Hop Hornbeam, Hop Hornbeam

Common Names in French:

Charme houblon

Common Names in German:

Europäische Hopfenbuche

Common Names in Polish:

Chmielograb europejski

Common Names in Russian:

Хмелеграб обыкновенный


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Family Betulaceae

Trees or shrubs deciduous, monoecious. Stipules present, free , often deciduous, rarely persistent . Leaves alternate, simple , petiolate , usually doubly serrate, rarely simply serrate, lobulate , or entire; veins pinnate. Flowers unisexual . Male inflorescence precocious , elongate , pendulous, with numerous overlapping bracts; each bract usually subtending a small dichasium with 1-3 male flowers; stamens as many as and opposite sepals or, if sepals obsolete , then stamens of inflorescence to 20; filaments very short, connate or nearly so; anthers 2-loculed, thecae connate or separate, opening by longitudinal slits. Female inflorescence pendulous or erect , with numerous overlapping bracts; each bract subtending a small dichasium with 2 or 3 flowers; calyx with 1-6 scalelike lobes , or obsolete; petals absent; ovary inferior, 2-loculed; styles 2, free; ovules 2, or 1 by abortion , pendulous from near apex of each locule. Fruit a nut or nutlet , winged or not. Seed 1, with straight embryo and flat or thickened cotyledons, without endosperm.

Six genera and 150-200 species: mainly in Asia, Europe, and North and South America; six genera (one endemic) and 89 species (56 endemic) in China.

Because of evolutionary divergence within the Betulaceae, the family has often been divided into tribes (i.e. , Betuleae, Carpineae, and Coryleae) or more recently into subfamilies (J. J. Furlow, J. Arnold Arbor . 71: 1-67. 1990) .[1]

Genus Ostrya

Trees , 9--18 m ; trunks usually 1, branching mostly deliquescent, trunk and branches terete . Bark of trunk and branches brownish gray to light brown, thin, smooth , breaking and shredding into shaggy vertical strips and scales ; lenticels generally inconspicuous. Wood nearly white to light brown, very hard and heavy, texture fine. Branches, branchlets , and twigs conspicuously 2-ranked; young twigs differentiated into long and short shoots . Winter buds sessile, ovoid , somewhat laterally compressed , apex acute; scales many, imbricate, longitudinally striate . Leaves on long and short shoots, 2-ranked. Leaf blade narrowly ovate to ovate, elliptic , or obovate with 10 or more pairs of lateral veins, 2.5--13 × 1.5--6 cm, thin, margins doubly serrate to serrulate ; surfaces abaxially glabrous to tomentose . Inflorescences: staminate catkins terminal on branches, mostly in small, racemose clusters , formed previous growing season and exposed during winter, expanding with leaves; pistillate catkins proximal to staminate on short, lateral, leafy new growth, solitary, ± erect , elongate , bracts and flowers uncrowded. Staminate flowers in catkins 3 per bract, crowded together on pilose receptacle; stamens 3(--6), short; filaments often divided part way to base ; anthers divided into 2 parts, each 1-locular, apex pilose. Pistillate flowers 2 per bract. Infructescences loosely imbricate, strobiloid clusters of closed inflated bracts; clusters pendulous, elongate; bracts deciduous with fruit, inflated, bladderlike, each bract enclosing 1 fruit. Fruits small nutlets , ovoid, longitudinally ribbed , often crowned with persistent sepals and styles. x = 8.

Species ca. 5: mostly north temperate zones

In North America Ostrya consists of small trees in the northern temperate deciduous forest zone and in the mountains of southwestern United States and adjacent Mexico. Mexican populations have generally been treated as conspecific with O. virginiana of eastern United States and Canada. They differ in various respects, however, including leaf shape and indumentum; the morphologic variation and phytogeography of the complex as a whole should be carefully examined. Ostrya carpinifolia Scopoli is a common and important forest tree of southern Europe.

Ostrya shares many features with Carpinus. The staminate catkins in most species of Ostrya are produced the season before anthesis but, unlike Carpinus, they are exposed during the winter. Dispersal occurs as it does in Carpinus, except that the bracts form closed, bladderlike structures rather than flat wings .

The wood of Ostrya is used for fuel, fence posts, and various other purposes. It was formerly utilized for manufacturing items subject to prolonged friction, including sleigh runners , wheel rims , and airplane propellers. Because of its hardness , it has been used for tool handles, mallet heads , and other hard wooden objects.[2]

Physical Description

Habit: Deciduous.

Flowers: Bloom Period: March. • Flower Color: inconspicuous, none


Size: 30-40' tall.


Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 2,453 meters (0 to 8,048 feet).[3]


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Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Full Sun .

Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a. (map)


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Carpinus italica Scop. Ex Steud. • Carpinus ostrya L. • Ostrya carpinifolia var. genuina Fliche • Ostrya italica carpinifolia H.J.P.Winkl. • Ostrya Italica Carpinifolia • Ostrya italica carpinifolia (Scop.) H. Winkl. • Ostrya italica Spach • Ostrya ladelchii Sanguin. • Ostrya vulgaris Willd.


Publishing author : Scop.

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Ostrya

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 8 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

O. carpinifolia (European Hop Hornbeam) · O. chisosensis (Big Bend Hop-Hornbeam) · O. knowltonii (Ironwood) · O. virginiana (American Hop Hornbeam) · O. virginiana guatemalensis (American Hop-Hornbeam) · O. virginiana lasia (American Hop-Hornbeam) · O. virginiana var. chisosensis (Correll) Henrickson, comb. nov. ined. (American Hop-Hornbeam) · O. virginiana virginiana (American Hop Hornbeam)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 27, 2007:



  1. Pei-chun Li & Alexei K. Skvortsov "Betulaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 4 Page 286. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  2. "Ostrya". in Flora of North America Vol. 3. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  3. Mean = 411.890 meters (1,351.345 feet), Standard Deviation = 520.820 based on 44 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2/1/2015