An important small native upland understory tree that is tougher than nails. Called Ironwood because it was traditionally used for sled runners, wagon tongues (the part that hitched to the horses), longbows, and other rugged tools. We use it for ax handles.
Moderately shaggy greyish-brown bark and birch-like leaves. In fall, the seeds mature in little papery cones resembling hops, providing food for winter birds like the chickadee.
Prefers well-drained acidic soil. Full sun or partial shade. Can be drought tolerant and thrive on thin gravelly soil, but water well for the first few years while it gets established. Not to be confused with Carpinus caroliniana, Musclewood, which is frequently referred to as hornbeam. Tolerant of pollution and works well in yards and as a street tree. Native Nova Scotia to most of eastern U.S. Z3. Maine Grown. (1-3' bare-root trees)