Blue-beech

Silhouette - Blue-beech
  • Latin name: Carpinus caroliniana Walt.
  • French name: Charme de Caroline
  • Synonym(s): Musclewood , ironwood , American hornbeam
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 19504
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf with detail of  distinctly double-toothed margin - Blue-beech

Form

  • Deciduous, alternate, simple
  • Arranged in 2 rows on the twig
  • Elliptic, tapering to a sharp tip
  • Rounded at the base
  • Texture firm
  • Veins straight, parallel

Length

  • 5–10 cm, becoming successively larger along the shoot

Colour

  • Upper surface bluish-green
  • Lower surface yellowish-green

Autumn colour

  • Red

Margin

  • Each vein ends in a sharp tooth, with 1–2 smaller intervening teeth

Buds

  • Lateral bud and leaf scar - Blue-beech

Form

  • Ovoid, blunt, slightly hairy
  • Pressed against the twig
  • Several scales in 4 rows
  • No true terminal bud
  • Leaf scars with 3 vein scars

Colour

  • Reddish-brown with a whitish margin

Twigs

  • Winter twig - Blue-beech

Form

  • Slender, as narrow as the leaf buds

Colour

  • Grey to reddish-brown

Flowers

Form

  • Pollen flowers in drooping catkins, growing laterally on previous year’s twigs
  • Seed flowers in elongated clusters (racemes) at the tips of new leafy shoots
  • Pollination takes place as the leaves begin to appear

Length

  • Pollen flowers 25–40 mm

Structure

  • Monoecious

Fruits

  • Fruit bract  and nut - Blue-beech
  • Nut - Blue-beech

Form

  • Small, ovoid, ribbed nut
  • In the axil of a 3-lobed, leaf-like bract with 5–7 veins
  • In elongated pendulous clusters

Length

  • Nut 6–9 mm
  • Bract about 25 mm
  • Clusters 10–15 cm

Bark

Form

  • Smooth, thin, unbroken
  • Muscle-like longitudinal ridges giving a wavy outline in cross-section

Colour

  • Slate grey

Wood

Texture

  • Very heavy, hard, strong

Morphology

  • Diffuse-porous
  • Pores visible with a hand lens, larger rays visible to the naked eye

Uses

  • Tool handles

Size

Height

  • To 8 m

Diameter

  • To 25 cm

Tree form

  • Silhouette - Blue-beech

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Usually short, crooked, fluted

Crown

  • Low, wide-spreading, with a few irregular, slightly zigzag branches bearing fine twigs in flat sprays

Habitat

Site

  • Deep, rich, moist soils on lower slopes in valleys and along the borders of streams and swamps

Light tolerance

  • Very shade-tolerant
Photos
  • Blue-beech
  • Blue-beech
  • Blue-beech
  • Blue-beech
Distribution map
Distribution map - Blue-beech
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