Hornbeam trees make wonderful stately ornamental trees and their dense foliage makes them ideal for screening and hedging. They are a popular choice for avenue planting as their foliage canopies make an attractive feature in urban settings and they're also popular with wildlife. The Hornbeam trees in this range include natural rounded shapes, formal upright shapes and even a pleached form.
The male and female flowers of Carpinus betulus are on separate catkins but on the same tree. They are wind pollinated and appear in spring. The leaves are deciduous but provide an evergreen effect because they turn brown in autumn yet hold onto the branches until the fresh green growth comes through in spring. This behaviour is similar to Beech trees, although Hornbeam are actually in the birch family, Betulaceae.
The name Hornbeam is derived from the Latin 'horn' in reference to the hardiness of the wood and 'beam' the Old English for tree. Carpinus is the ancient Latin word for the species. Hornbeam trees have a rich history within folklore. A tonic was made from the leaves to treat tiredness and exhaustion and the leaves were commonly used to prevent bleeding and heal wounds.
Hornbeam produces a very hard timber, known as Ironwood. As it is difficult to work, it is not commonly used in carpentry however when a particularly hard wood is needed it comes in useful. Examples of hornbeam uses include: piano actions, carving boards, tool handles, parquet flooring, chess pieces and gears in early machinery.