Ironwood Tree (Ostrya virginiana)

  • Broadleafed
  • Deciduous

The ironwood tree, or American hophornbeam as it is also known, is a tree prized for its wood (sometimes used in longbows), and its buds and catkins, which are a food source for birds like Ruffed Grouse. The Ironwood tree averages just 25-40 feet tall, so it is often found as part of the forest understory.

  • Alternate Common Name: Hop Hornbeam, hornbeam
  • Average Height: The ironwood tree averages 25-40 feet tall.
  • Average Width: Ironwood trees are as wide as they are tall.
  • Leaf Description: Simple leaves, 2-5 inches long and half as wide. Oblong to heart-shaped, doubly-serrated margin with a fuzzy petiole and main vein on the underside.
  • Bark Description: Ironwood (hornbeam) bark is grayish-brown, often broken into narrow strips.
  • Twig Description: Twigs are slender and dark reddish brown. Often zig zag in shape and shiny.
  • Flowering: Male catkins are visible throught the winter, female only in the spring.
  • Needle or Broadleaf: Broadleafed
  • Comments: The wood of the Ironwood tree or hornbeam is extremely dense and heavy, hence the name ironwood.

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