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The wood is pale, hard and once used as agricultural implements and is an excellent burning wood.

Hornbeam has over 50 species of phytophagus insects connected with it.

The Hawfinch is the only British bird that can crack the hard seed.

A member of the Betulaceae family

Hornbeam, although one of our native trees, is one of the last to arrive on our shores. Pollen records show it appearing about 5000 years ago and that its natural distribution is confined to the Midlands and the south west of  England.

Mainly hornbeam have been managed either as coppice or pollards. Hatfield forest in Essex has some of the oldest pollard hornbeam perhaps exceeding 300 years plus, and full size mature trees are rarely seen but can grow to 20-30m in height.

A long lived deciduous tree, which has smooth bark often fluted at the base. Leaves are bright green and oval with double toothed margin and slightly hairy on the underside.

It is monoceious  male catkins as much as 5cm long. Pollination by wind and once pollinated the resulting fruit is a small seed contained in a leafy bract which is also dependant on the wind for dispersal.

Hornbeam coppice

May Tree of the Month - Hornbeam Carpinus betulus

Hornbeam catkins