Botanical Name: Carpinus caroliniana
Common Name: American Hornbeam, Ironwood, Blue Beech, Water Beech, Musclewood
Description: Beautiful slow growing, deciduous Florida native tree that is perfect for the shade/part shade part of your garden. Wonderful understory tree grows 25-30′ tall and wide and does great beneath larger oaks, maples, etc. Can handle periodic flooding, so go on ahead and put it in your rain garden, low spots, next to the pond, etc., but also grows just fine in regular gardening moisture. Produces green fruit that the birds and critters love to eat. Is a host plant for: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Striped hairstreak, Red-spotted Purple butterfly, and Tiger swallowtail. The leaves turn a gorgeous orange to scarlet color in the Fall before dropping. Likes to grow in loam, clay, or sandy soils. Its native habitat is in river floodplains.
Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray.
This plant in 3-gallon containers is 2-3′ tall.
This plant in 7-gallon containers is 4-6′ tall.
Plant Lore: The name “hornbeam” comes from the extreme hardness of the wood.
Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 9