Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

HOPHORNBEAM
Ostrya virginiana
Betulaceae

Leaves are simple, alternate, deciduous, thin, and elliptical to ovate with a round to heart-shaped base, hair below and doubly serrate margins. Lateral veins break up toward the leaf margin. Twigs are red-brown, slender, and zigzag. Buds are pointed, and green-brown striped. Bark is red-brown and scaly. Fruit is a nutlet enclosed in a hop-like paper sac. Form is up to 12 m (40 ft) in height. Hophornbeam is found in the understory in moist, well-drained forests in the east and central U.S. and is tolerant of shade. The wood is hard and pale and used in specialty items. The seed is eaten by turkey and other birds as well as small animals.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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