hornbeam


hornbeam
/hawrn"beem'/, n.
any North American shrub or tree belonging to the genus Carpinus, of the birch family, yielding a hard, heavy wood, as C. caroliniana (American hornbeam).
[1570-80; HORN + BEAM]

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plant
      any of about 25 species of hardy, slow-growing ornamental and timber trees constituting the genus Carpinus of the birch family (Betulaceae), distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The hop-hornbeam (q.v.) is in a different genus of the birch family. A hornbeam has smooth, grayish bark, a short, fluted trunk, and horizontally spreading branches. It differs from other trees in the birch family in that male catkins are not formed until the spring in which they mature. A leaflike, three-lobed husk surrounds each fruit, a nutlet about 1 cm (1/2 inch) long. The egg- or lance-shaped alternate leaves may remain on the tree into winter.

      The European hornbeam (C. betulus) has a twisted trunk that branches profusely; the tree may grow to 20 m (65 feet). One variety bears normal and oaklike leaves on the same tree. The American hornbeam (C. caroliniana) is also known as water beech and blue beech, the latter for its blue-gray bark. It seldom reaches 12 m, although some trees in the southern United States may grow to 18 m tall. The smooth trunk has a sinewy or muscular appearance and divides into slender, slightly pendulous branches. The egg-shaped, bronze-green leaves, up to 10 cm long, are white haired when unfolding; they are blue-green at maturity and become scarlet or orange-yellow in autumn. Because of its hard, heavy wood, the American hornbeam is commonly called ironwood. C. cordata, an Asian species, usually 15 m tall, has heart-shaped leaves up to 15 cm long. In the Japanese hornbeam (C. japonica), the downy leaves are reddish brown when unfolding; the smaller Korean hornbeam (C. eximia), usually 9 m tall, has egg-shaped, slender-pointed, downy leaves.

      The European hornbeam has a whitish, tough wood that is used in agricultural implements. The tree is a common ornamental in hedges and covered walks of Old World gardens and is often pruned into strange shapes. The American hornbeam is less popular as an ornamental; it requires partial shade and wind protection.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hornbeam — Horn beam , n. [See {Beam}.] (Bot.) A tree of the genus {Carpinus} ({Carpinus Americana}), having a smooth gray bark and a ridged trunk, the wood being white and very hard. It is common along the banks of streams in the United States, and is also …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hornbeam — 1570s, from HORN (Cf. horn) (n.) + BEAM (Cf. beam) (n.), preserving the original sense of the word; so called in reference to its hard wood …   Etymology dictionary

  • hornbeam — ► NOUN ▪ a deciduous tree with hard pale wood. ORIGIN so named because of the tree s hard wood …   English terms dictionary

  • hornbeam — [hôrn′bēm΄] n. [ HORN + BEAM] 1. any of a genus (Carpinus) of small, hardy trees of the birch family, with smooth, gray bark and drooping catkins with flat, papery bracts around a greenish nut 2. the very hard, white wood of this tree, which… …   English World dictionary

  • Hornbeam — Taxobox name = Hornbeam image width = 200px image caption = European Hornbeam foliage regnum = Plantae divisio = Magnoliophyta classis = Magnoliopsida ordo = Fagales familia = Betulaceae genus = Carpinus genus authority = L. subdivision ranks =… …   Wikipedia

  • hornbeam — skroblas statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Lazdyninių (Corylaceae) šeimos augalų gentis (Carpinus). atitikmenys: lot. Carpinus angl. hornbeam; ironwood vok. Hainbuche; Hornbaum; Weißbuche rus. граб lenk. grab …   Dekoratyvinių augalų vardynas

  • hornbeam — noun Date: 14th century any of a genus (Carpinus) of trees of the birch family having smooth gray bark and hard white wood …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hornbeam — noun a) A tree of the genus Carpinus), having a smooth gray bark and a ridged trunk, the wood being white and very hard. It is common along the banks of streams in the United States, and is also called ironwood. b) The wood of this tree …   Wiktionary

  • hornbeam — n. tree with a smooth bark that is common in the USA; the wood of such tree …   English contemporary dictionary

  • hornbeam — noun a deciduous tree with oval serrated leaves, tough winged nuts, and hard pale wood. [Genus Carpinus; several species.] Origin ME: so named because of the tree s hard wood …   English new terms dictionary


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