What does a hornbeam tree look like – the main features of popular species
Hornbeam is a small deciduous tree, representative of the Birch family. How a hornbeam tree looks like depends on its species, of which there are more than 40. The hornbeam is often used in landscape design – for landscaping garden plots and park areas. Its wood is famous for its strength and strength, therefore it has long been used for industrial purposes. Various forms of the crown and its color, various colors of foliage from emerald to crimson-red shades have provided the hornbeam with popularity among gardeners and landscape designers..
What does a hornbeam tree look like and where it grows
Hornbeam is a deciduous tree belonging to the Birch family. Most often it reaches 30-40 m in height and has a trunk diameter of up to 50 cm.But some varieties of hornbeam look like large, tall shrubs with a lush, spreading crown.
What hornbeam trees look like – common features:
- The root system is branched, located close to the soil surface, sometimes they can rise above the ground.
- The tree has a cylindrical crown, lush and spreading.
- The trunk is covered with a smooth, glossy bark of light gray or brown color. In some species, it may be covered with small cracks..
- Depending on the variety, the length of the leaf plates can reach 5-15 cm.The color is rich green.
- The leaves have jagged edges, the lower half of the leaf is covered with soft villi, the upper half is covered with small veins.
- In the spring, the tree is covered with earring inflorescences, which are divided into male and female.
- After flowering, the earrings dry out and fly around, in their place fruits are formed – miniature brown nuts, no more than 4-6 mm in size. Fruiting of the tree begins at the age of 18-20 years..
- Hornbeam lifespan – up to 250-300 years.
In the photo of the hornbeam tree and leaves, you can see that they have an unusual, original color. The green color of the foliage with the onset of September-October changes its color to golden yellow, orange, crimson red or burgundy.
In nature, there are more than 40 varieties of hornbeam, which grow on the territory of Iran, China and other countries of Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus.
The European hornbeam is also called common and belongs to the most common types of wood. It can be found in many European countries. In adulthood, the tree reaches 25-30 m.
What does a European hornbeam tree look like?:
- the crown is dense, cylindrical or pyramidal;
- trunk diameter up to 40-45 cm;
- the trunk is covered with rough light gray bark;
- leaves are oblong or rounded;
- shoots are thin and long;
- flowering begins in mid-May and lasts 2-3 weeks.
Brown nuts appear on the tree around October.
The wood is gray in color, sometimes with a golden tint. It is distinguished by its hardness and density, therefore it is often used in industry..
The black or oriental hornbeam is a small tree no more than 6-8 m in height. It is distinguished by slow growth, high drought resistance and the ability to adapt to environmental conditions. Average life expectancy – 120-150 years.
The black hornbeam has a dense, egg-shaped crown, as well as green foliage, which turns golden with the onset of autumn. The barrel has a curved shape and a silvery-gray bark.
Hornbeam leaves lend themselves well to shearing, so the crown can be given almost any shape. That is why this type of tree is often used in landscape design, to create hedges, landscaping gardens and park areas..
Black hornbeam wood in its natural state has a gray color, but it undergoes a special coloring with a mixture of nitrobenzene, aniline and hydrochloric acid. This impregnation gives the wood a rich, dramatic black color that does not wear off or fade over time..
The Caucasian hornbeam is a tree up to 4-5 m high with an unusual crown. Its lower part has leaves of a rich dark green color, which becomes lighter closer to the top of the crown. The Caucasian hornbeam can grow strongly, forming dense thickets of “hornbeams”. Because of this, it is used to create spectacular hedges..
The inflexible and durable hornbeam wood is used for the production of the so-called “emerald hornbeam”. These are bars of a greenish-emerald color, soaked through with a coloring composition. They are used in arts and crafts, as well as for making costume jewelry..
A small tree, the height of which does not exceed 5-7 m. In some cases, it can grow in the form of dense shrubs with dense, spreading branches. The trunk is thin, its diameter is no more than 10-15 cm.
The leaf blades are small, wide at the base and narrowed at the tips. In the summer months, the foliage has a bluish-green color; closer to autumn, it changes to a golden-orange or crimson-red color..
When the hornbeam blooms depends on the climatic conditions of the region. In Europe and North America, flowering begins in the second half of May and lasts until early or mid-June. The Caroline hornbeam has a smooth bark without roughness and irregularities, silver-gray or brown-gray. The wood is durable and dense.
Under natural conditions, the Caroline hornbeam grows in North America, near lakes, rivers and other bodies of water. In European countries, it is grown artificially as an ornamental tree used in landscape design.
The seaside hornbeam is also known as “heart-leaved” – according to the original shape of the leaf plates resembling a heart. On the territory of Russia, the tree can be seen only in the regions of the Primorsky Territory. It also grows on the mountain slopes of Japan, Korea, China.
The height of the seaside hornbeam is up to 10-18 m, the trunk diameter is 20-30 cm.In young trees, the bark is dark gray, with age it begins to crack and can be covered with moss.
Due to the heart-shaped shape of the leaves, the seaside hornbeam is highly decorative, therefore it is used to create unusual green hedges.
Hornbeam wood application
The popularity of hornbeam wood is due to its strength and high density. It is very difficult to split or cut, therefore, products made from such a natural material are distinguished by good wear resistance and durability..
Scope of hornbeam wood:
- production machines;
- billiard cues;
- golf clubs;
- floor materials;
- musical instruments;
- handles for agricultural tools;
- interior decoration.
The internal structure of wood is sinuous, consisting of a combination of several shades. It is highly regarded in the production of wood mosaic and hornbeam parquet boards.
Applying flowers and leaves
Due to the rich natural composition, hornbeam flowers, bark and leaves are used in cosmetology and alternative medicine. Inflorescences contain a huge complex of active elements – organic acids, essential oils, tannins, coumarins, aldehydes.
Useful properties of hornbeam flowers:
- remove accumulated salts, slags and toxins from the body;
- stimulate blood circulation;
- strengthen the walls of blood vessels and improve their elasticity;
- accelerate the healing of the skin after wounds and various injuries;
- even out and improve skin color, reducing rashes;
- strengthen hair roots and fight hair loss;
- improve the condition of the organs of the reproductive system, prevent the development of gynecological diseases;
- normalize stools and help fight diarrhea.
Phytotherapists consider decoctions and infusions of hornbeam flowers to be an effective remedy for the prevention of oncological diseases, in particular, brain tumors..
Organic essential oils are obtained from hornbeam nuts and foliage, which are used in cosmetology and cooking in Asian countries. Hornbeam fruits, leaves and twigs are a valuable and nutritious food for farm animals..
Hornbeam is not only amazingly beautiful, but also useful tree. Due to the huge variety of forms and types, it can become a magnificent decoration for any landscape design, and flowers, fruits and leaves are highly valued in herbal medicine and cosmetology.