Carpinus caroliniana, American Hornbeam


In Minnesota, American Hornbeam, aka Musclewood, is at the NW boundary of its natural U.S. range. It is similar to another unique tree, American Hophornbeam, that can do well in the shade, under the mature canopy of Minnesota woodlands. This is a great tree to plant in partial shade at a woodland edge, in the shade of a building (but not right against it), or under savanna-like conditions. It does best where soil is somewhat moist but well-drained as it is often found in woodland ravines and slopes, but rarely on the flood plains of major rivers. It is tolerant of a range of soil pH, although prefers neutral to acid -amend with compost, some peat, or leaf mold at planting.
The name Musclewood comes from the lumpy, sinewy wood under smooth, light gray bark that suggests muscles. Some specimens may be multi-stemmed.

Blooms: greenish-yellow, May
Fruit: July to August
Height: 20 to 30 feet
Conditions: shade to pt shade, moist-medium to medium soils
American Hornbeam leaf.