Hornbeam, Common

[[Category:Deciduous Trees]]
[[Category:pictures needed]]

[[File:Carpinus_betulus_-_Hunsrück_001C.jpg|[[commons:Carpinus betulus|Carpinus betulus]]|right|200px]]

”’Scientific Name”’: ”Carpinus betulus”

”’Family”’: ”Betulaceae”

”’Also known as”’: European Hornbeam, Yoke Elm.

”’Habitat”’: Common Hornbeam is native to Western Asia and central, eastern, and southern Europe, including southern England. [[commons:Carpinus betulus#Native distribution areas|Native distribution map]]

It requires a warm climate for good growth, and occurs only at elevations up to 600 metres (1,969 ft). It grows in mixed stands with oak, and in some areas beech, and is also a common tree in scree forests. [[commons:Carpinus betulus#Natural habitats|Natural habitat pictures]]

A general upright character, with densely packed, fine branches and a muscular trunk. Mature trees can reach a height of 30m and live for more than 300 years.

”’Identifying Features”’:
* ”’Bark”’ – Grey with a hint of silver. Smooth, developing vertical lines/fissures which give the impression of elephant skin.
* ”’Twigs”’ – Fine, grey-brown, hairy at first.
* ”’Buds”’ – Small (4-7mm), claw-like, slender and pointed, arranged alternately. Pressed close to the twig. [[commons:Carpinus betulus#Buds|Buds pictures]]
* ”’Leaves”’ – The leaves are a similar shape to beech leaves – oval, toothed and with pointed tips. Hornbeam leaves, however, are smaller (4-9cm) and more deeply furrowed than beech leaves. They become golden yellow to orange before falling in autumn. They are arranged alternately and have prominent veins which make them look corrugated. [[commons:Carpinus betulus#Leaves|Leaves pictures]]
* ”’Flowers”’ – It is monoecious, and the wind-pollinated male and female catkins appear in early summer after the leaves. The male catkins are enclosed in buds during the winter, after which they emerge yellowy-green, with red-brown scales, with a similar character to birch and alder. [[commons:Carpinus betulus#Inflorescences|Catkins pictures]]
* ”’Fruits”’ – After pollination by wind, female catkins develop into papery, green winged fruits, known as samaras.
The fruit is a small 7–8 mm (0.28–0.31 in) long nut, partially surrounded by a three-pointed leafy involucre 3–4 cm (1.2–1.6 in) long; it matures in autumn. The seeds often do not germinate till the spring of the second year after sowing. The hornbeam is a prolific seeder and is marked by vigorous natural regeneration. [[commons:Carpinus betulus#Infructescences|Fruit pictures]]

==Pictures throughout the year==

File:Hornbeam_Samara_Feb.jpg|Old Samara in February


The leaves are haemostatic. They are used in external compresses to stop bleeding and heal wounds. A distilled water made from the leaves is an effective eye lotion. The leaves are harvested in August and dried for later use. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are ‘Tiredness’, ‘Weariness’ and ‘Mental and physical exhaustion’.

In mythology, a tonic made from the bark was said to relieve tiredness, and the leaves were used to stop bleeding from wounds.

It is extremely hard and strong, and so was used for construction. The leaves are the food plant for caterpillars of a number of moth species, including the nut tree tussock. Finches and tits and small mammals eat the seeds in autumn.

==Gav Notes==
===Known hazards===
None known.

The leaves are harvested in August and dried for later use.

===Potential lookalikes===

*Tree & Plant ID Course from Foundation Bushcraft – http://identificationmasterclass.com/
*Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpinus_betulus
*Woodland Trust – https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/native-trees/hornbeam/

Share This:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.