Graves, Arthur H. Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven, Connecticut.
Davis, Kenneth P. School of Forestry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
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Any tree of the genus Carpinus of the birch family. Hornbeam is represented in the United States by C. caroliniana, the American hornbeam or blue beech. It is a small tree, sometimes attaining a height of 35 ft (10.7 m), and has a smooth, steel-gray, fluted bark. It grows throughout the eastern half of the United States, especially in moist soil along the banks of streams; it is sometimes called water beech. When it is mature, it is recognized easily by its peculiar bark, by the doubly serrate leaves resembling those of sweet birch (see illustration), and by the small, pointed, angular winter buds with scales in four rows. The fruit is a small nutlet subtended by a three-lobed serrate bract. The wood is very hard, giving rise to the name ironwood. The Janka hardness for American hornbeam is 1780 lb-force (807 kg-force); its density is 47 lb/ft3 (753 kg/m3). The bole of this tree is rarely used for sawn products because it is short and usually crooked. Leaves turn scarlet or orange in the autumn.
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