Native to Midwestern forests, s ome may consider it too common for widespread use, but a closer look is warranted. The bark of this tree is thin, bluish-gray, and smooth. That confusion could have easily been avoided had we used the tree's scientific name right off the bat. In Minnesota, it is found in the understory in forests of maple, basswood, oak, cherry and white birch. American hornbeam is also called musclewood because of the sinewy appearance of its smooth gray bark. The simple, alternate leaves are more or less doubly toothed, or at least the teeth are often of various sizes giving an irregular appearance. We also refer to Musclewood … Seems pretty uniform across the board with the other arborists in my field that I’ve come encountered. University of Michigan [Internet]. 3 vols. and Albion College disclaims any and all liability for that content, its accuracy, and opinions it may contain. maple-basswood forests). “Male” catkins are not visible until spring, typically 2.5-4 cm (1-1.75 in) long, and are greenish in color. 4 m tall, and was in fair condition due to a wound at the base of the tree. Available from: Skean JD, Nobert HA, Martin LC. Available from: http://campus.albion.edu/albiontrees/. It is also called ironwood for its very dense timber. Boss, & B.S. However it occupies different sites than the Hop-Hornbeam tree which is another understory species. Boss, & B.S. [cited 9 May-2016]. Musclewood is a synonym of hornbeam. It is no surprise that the strong wood of this tree has given it several other common names; American hornbeam, musclewood, and ironwood. Michigan Flora Online. In fact, early pioneers found these trees ideal for making mallets and other tools as well as bowls and dishes. February 2011. Trees are monecious meaning that both “male” and “female” flowers are present on each tree. Typically growing into a large shrub or small tree, this species has been known to reach heights of 5-10 m (15-35 ft) and develop trunks 15-30 cm (6-12 in) in diameter. When measured on 24 May 2016, this tree had a diameter at breast height of <2.5 cm, was ca. They hang off the very tip of the branches and blow prettily in the breeze until they are dispersed by birds and insects. While Carpinus contains 25 species of trees, only the blue beech is native to North America. In landscapes, it works well as a small shade tree and in shady, naturalized woodlands. Carpinus caroliniana, or Blue Beech, is a member of Betulaceae (the birch family). Depending on where you live Blue Beech, American Hophornbeam, Eastern Hophornbeam and even Musclewood (due to its twisted trunk and resemblance to a muscle) are names given to describe "Ironwood" which makes identifying the tree somewhat confusing. Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) is an attractive small tree that is common, but not abundant in its natural range. It is located at N42.24329°, W084.72828°. Planted alongside of the arch are musclewoods and serviceberries! Information about the common street trees of Albion, Michigan [Internet]. The “female” catkins are 1.2-1.9 cm (0.5-0.75 in) long and have hairy, greenish scales. Flowers bloom in April-May as the leaves develop. Ann Arbor, MI: Univ. Ironwood tree leaves fall … It is another important sub-dominant tree that makes up the understory layer of the forest. Leaves are alternate, simple, blades 2½â€“4½ inches long, 1½â€“2½ inches wide, broadest at or below the middle; margin sharply and densely toothed; base often uneven; upper surface yellowish to dark green, dull; lower surface paler, hairy. The leaf blades are 5-10 cm (2-4 in) long and 2-4 cm (0.75-1.5 in) wide. Ironwood makes excellent firewood because it cures well and burns hot. 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