Squirrels, rabbits, and beaver eat the seeds, wood, and bark. Would you like to see a musclewood up close and in person? Michigan Flora Online. They are small trees that serve many purposes in the home landscape. [cited 9 May-2016]. The foliage, bark, and fruits are important food for lots of different songbirds, as well as squirrels, grouse, turkeys, foxes, cottontails, and beavers. The bark is smooth, gray to bluish-gray, and … Why do trees do this? February 2011. 4 m tall, and was in fair condition due to a wound at the base of the tree. It is no surprise that the strong wood of this tree has given it several other common names; American hornbeam, musclewood, and ironwood. We connect people in cities to nature and each other. This phenomenon is present in lots of trees like basswood, elm, and hackberry and is called shoot-tip abortion. Ironwood tree leaves fall … I, personally, have had many long conversations with others about "ironwood" (or "hornbeam") only to find out well into the dialogue that the two of us were … In Minnesota, it is found in the understory in forests of maple, basswood, oak, cherry and white birch. Carpinus spp. It gets another common name, muscle tree, from the sinewy texture of its gray, fluted, smooth trunk. Come to our Riverside Park location and walk to the iron arch on the northwest corner of the building, just past the climbing wall. Carpinus caroliniana Walter – Betulaceae – birch family. Copyright © 2020 The Urban Ecology Center. is that ironwood is (uncountable) the wood of any ironwood tree while musclewood is (uncountable) the wood of this species. Carpinus caroliniana is also known as musclewood, ironwood, blue beech, and american hornbeam. Trees are monecious meaning that both “male” and “female” flowers are present on each tree. It's an amazing question that people have been trying to answer since the phenomenon was first discovered in 1822. [cited 9 May-2016]. Hornbeams, also known as ironwood and musclewood, get their common names from their strong wood, which rarely cracks or splits. That ironwood is also called musclewood and bluebeech. Michigan trees, revised and updated: a guide to the trees of the Great Lakes region. We restore hope and heal our urban natural world, neighborhood by neighborhood. In fact, early pioneers found these trees ideal for making mallets and other tools as well as bowls and dishes. 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. Britton, N.L., and A. Musclewood is a relatively small, slow-growing, and short-lived tree which usually grows in the understory of our mixed-hardwood forests. The edges of the leaves are doubly serrate, which means that the serrations on the edge of the leaf have their own serrations. I, personally, have had many long conversations with others about "ironwood" (or "hornbeam") only to find out well into the dialogue that the two of us were talking about totally different species of tree! Blue beech (Carpinus caroliniana), also called musclewood or American hornbeam, is a small, slow-growing tree, native to Minnesota and the eastern U.S. They are apetalous, meaning they lack petals, and they are borne in catkins. A closely related tree, the blue beech (Carpinus caroliniana), also carries the hornbeam and ironwood names. have also performed well in community gravel beds and fall plantings if the root zone is covered with at least two inches of wood mulch before the ground freezes (12). Muscelwood is a species that is native to Michigan. A.A. Reznicek, E.G. 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. Available from:  http://michiganflora.net/home.aspx. February 2011. Boss, & B.S. Musclewood would be better suited as an ornamental tree or grown in more natural settings (i.e. This is not completely true. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Barnes BV, Wagner, WH Jr. 2004. Please direct questions or comments to websupport@albion.edu. Musclewood and Ironwood, names thought to be interchangeable for the same plant species. The smooth gray bark over an irregularly ridged trunk suggests a muscled limb thereby providing the basis for one of its common names, "musclewood". Its common name, musclewood, comes from its attractive blue-gray bark, fluted with long, sinewy ridges.The extremely hard wood of this tree inspires another common name, ironwood (a name shared with the American hop hornbeam). 2014. Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) is an attractive small tree that is common, but not abundant in its natural range. November 1 - March 31Tue - Fri  Noon - 6 p.m.Saturday  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.Sun & Mon  Closed, April 1 - October 31Tue - Thur Noon - 7 p.m.Friday Noon - 6 p.m.Saturday  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.Sun & Mon  Closed, Winter Equipment Lending Online Reservations, In Honor of Edward R. Wagner and Lewis G. Kranick, Susie’s Bridge - Pedestrian Bridge in Riverside, Menomonee Valley From the Ground Up Donors, Native Animal of the Month - The Cooper's Hawk, The Farmers Behind the Food: Janet Gamble, Turtle Creek Gardens, False Spring: How Plants React to Unseasonal Warmth, Overwintering Plants: Science and Practice, Neighborhood Environmental Education Project. It is also called ironwood for its very dense timber. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied Forest Management. Carpinus fruits are also incredibly beautiful; composed of a series of hanging bracts (modified leaves that are usually associated with a fruiting structure). American Hornbeam, Musclewood, or Ironwood, is a deciduous tree that may grow 30 to feet tall. From contributor G: In the central states, there are two native hornbeams, both also called ironwood. Walters. The leaves of Carpinus caroliniana are shaped like a long oval (referred to in botanical books as an oblong ovate shape) with a pointed tip and a base that is often uneven. The serviceberries have multiple stems and look more like shrubs, so concentrate on the tree-like plants with the gray muscly-looking bark! Authors are solely responsible for the content and accuracy of their sites, including opinions they express, 3 vols. Planted alongside of the arch are musclewoods and serviceberries! 1913. I have learned my trees (in Illinois and North Carolina) and we refer to Hornbeam- Carpinus caroliniana as “Musclewood”, and Hop Hornbeam- Ostrya virginiana as “Ironwood”. They hang off the very tip of the branches and blow prettily in the breeze until they are dispersed by birds and insects. The desert ironwood tree of Arizona produces one of the heaviest woods in the world. The flowers are wind-pollinated. The reference to muscle relates to the tree's characteristic fluted trunk and branches that look like muscle tissue. This southwestern tree lives in desert habitats and provides shade and food for many species. That confusion could have easily been avoided had we used the tree's scientific name right off the bat. Noteworthy Characteristics. Dark patches may occur on the bark due to the muscle like ridges that are characteristic of the trunks of this species. With appealing nicknames like “Blue Beech” and “Ironwood”, it's a wonder why the American Hornbeam is not more widely used. The simple, alternate leaves are more or less doubly toothed, or at least the teeth are often of various sizes giving an irregular appearance. Ostrya virginiana is a complete different plant species; it is the "true ironwood" and is also known as american hophornbeam. Eastern Hop Hornbeam is also called ironwood. Another very cool thing about Carpinus carolinana especially at this time of year is that they have pseudo-terminal buds. Carpinus caroliniana, the American hornbeam, is a small hardwood tree in the genus Carpinus. All of these make excellent hot ans long burning firewood. The smooth, gray bark of the musclewood covers a sinewy, rigid trunk which looks like flexed arm muscles (hence the common name of musclewood). [cited 9 May-2016]. “Male” catkins are not visible until spring, typically 2.5-4 cm (1-1.75 in) long, and are greenish in color. American hornbeam is typically an understory tree, most often found in bottomland forests, swamps, or along rivers and streams throughout much of the eastern United States. Albion Trees. Boss, & B.S. Its other common name Ironwood is used to describe the dense, tough wood of this species. To have an upright cultivar with all these attributes is As the name suggests, the wood will take a horn-like polish and was once used by early Americans to make bowls, tool handles, and ox yokes. In landscapes, it works well as a small shade tree and in shady, naturalized woodlands. It also grows in Canada (southwest Quebec and southeast Ontario). American hornbeam is also known as blue-beech, and musclewood. Our vision is to inspire generations to build environmental curiosity, understanding, and respect. American hornbeam is a small tree of bottomland understories. Carpinus caroliniana trees are a good lesson in the value of using scientific names when referring to different species of plants and animals. The fruits are small nuts that ripen in mid-summer but are usually persistent until late fall after the leaves have fallen. Leaves are alternate, simple, and borne singly on short shoots in two rows. Tolerates dry, shady sites. This species has many common names, but the common name Blue-Beech stems from its bark having a strikingly similar look to that of American Beech. As nouns the difference between ironwood and musclewood is that ironwood is (countable) any of a number of tree species known for having a particularly solid wood while musclewood is a common name for the species carpinus caroliniana , a species of deciduous tree. Available from: Skean JD, Nobert HA, Martin LC. Carpinus caroliniana are called "musclewood," "ironwood," or "American Hornbeam" interchangeably. Flowers bloom in April-May as the leaves develop. and Albion College disclaims any and all liability for that content, its accuracy, and opinions it may contain. Information about the common street trees of Albion, Michigan [Internet]. 2014. maple-basswood forests). Carpinus caroliniana, or Blue Beech, is a member of Betulaceae (the birch family). It is too dense to float in water, but burns at a high temperature. Detailed Description: Plant habit and life style. No one knows! While Carpinus contains 25 species of trees, only the blue beech is native to North America. A natural history of trees of eastern and central North America. The small nuts are edible, but seldom used by humans. Native to Midwestern forests, s ome may consider it too common for widespread use, but a closer look is warranted. The “female” catkins are 1.2-1.9 cm (0.5-0.75 in) long and have hairy, greenish scales. Seems pretty uniform across the board with the other arborists in my field that I’ve come encountered. We also refer to Musclewood … However it occupies different sites than the Hop-Hornbeam tree which is another understory species. This species has many common names, but the common name Blue-Beech stems from its bark having a strikingly similar look to that of American Beech. A.A. Reznicek, E.G. Musclewood is a synonym of hornbeam. There is one Musclewood mapped in the arboretum. Habitat: Grows on moist, rocky, wooded slopes. Ironwood makes excellent firewood because it cures well and burns hot. Walters. Difficult to transplant due to deep spreading lateral roots. This earned it the nickname “musclewood.” Click here to see blue beech bark. [cited 9 May-2016]. However Musclewood is not a true beech species. This species is highly shade-tolerant, slow growing, and short lived. It is one of several tree species called ironwood because their wood is so hard. Eastern hop hornbeam is a small tree with wide, spreading branches. The leaf blades are 5-10 cm (2-4 in) long and 2-4 cm (0.75-1.5 in) wide. It is native to eastern North America, from Minnesota and southern Ontario east to Maine, and south to eastern Texas and northern Florida. The name hornbeam refers to the genuine strength of its wood — it is one of the hardest and strongest woods in North America. It is another important sub-dominant tree that makes up the understory layer of the forest. American hornbeam is also called musclewood because of the sinewy appearance of its smooth gray bark. Carpinus caroliniana are called "musclewood," "ironwood," or "American Hornbeam" interchangeably. One beautiful and interesting native Wisconsin tree which will, like more than 70 other native tree species, be planted as a part of the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum project is Carpinus caroliniana or musclewood. The leaves are alternate with a doubly toothed margin. Blue beech is another name for American Hornbeam, also called ironwood and musclewood. The bark of this tree is thin, bluish-gray, and smooth. It can be found naturally in areas with moist soil including streambanks, riverbanks, and maritime forests. Available from. Plant in the spring. Hop hornbeam, Ostrya virginiana, has light brown shreddy bark and gets the hop hornbeam name from the cluster of overlapping seed pods which resemble a cone of fruits on a hop vine. Ironwood firewood is commonly used as a blanket term for several different types of dense firewood producing trees. Albion Trees. Boston (MA): Houghton Mifflin Company 606 p. Skean JD, Nobert HA, Martin LC. Another native Wisconsin tree (Ostrya virginiana), however, is also called "hophornbeam" or "ironwood" which refers to the incredible strength of the wood. The scientific name can be used to clarify: the species I will be describing is Ostrya virginiana. It is located at N42.24329°, W084.72828°. What is the evolutionary advantage of losing not only your leaves in the fall, but also up to an inch of branch? Another native Wisconsin tree (Ostrya virginiana), however, is also called "hophornbeam" or "ironwood" which refers to the incredible strength of the wood. Brown. Ann Arbor, MI: Univ. Available from: http://campus.albion.edu/albiontrees/. However Musclewood is not a true beech species. Caitlin Reinartz is the Forester at the Urban Ecology Center Riverside Park branch, working primarily on the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum. When measured on 24 May 2016, this tree had a diameter at breast height of <2.5 cm, was ca. The sinewy appearance of the trunk accounts for one of its common names, musclewood. Plant Profiles: HORT 2242 Landscape Plants II Botanical Name: Carpinus caroliniana Common Name: American hornbeam, blue beech, ironwood, musclewood Family Name: Betulaceae – birch family General Description: Carpinus caroliniana is a native large shrub to small tree that is widely distributed throughout eastern United States, south to Florida and Texas, and even into parts of Mexico. Instead of just losing their leaves in the fall, they lose their leaves and also the very tip of each shoot so that the bud that looks like the terminal (end) bud is actually the outermost axillary (lateral or side) bud. However there are no donation records for this species. Information about the common street trees of Albion, Michigan [Internet]. Musclewood comes from the muscular look of the trunk. Plant names are confusing. As nouns the difference between musclewood and hornbeam is that musclewood is (botany) a common name for the species carpinus caroliniana , a species of deciduous tree while hornbeam is a tree of the genus carpinus , having a smooth gray bark and a ridged trunk, the wood being white and very hard, common along the banks of streams in the united states. Blue beech’s official name is American hornbeam without the “hop.” Its bark looks very different: smooth, blue-gray and muscular. Peattie, Donald C. 1948. University of Michigan [Internet]. Its other common name Ironwood is used to describe the dense, tough wood of this species. The American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) is a deciduous hardwood shade tree that's native to eastern North America.It is part of the Betulaceae (birch) family and has several nicknames, including blue beech, muscle beech, water beech, muscletree, musclewood, and ironwood. It has many common names, the most common include: blue beech because of its very smooth gray bark, and musclewood referring to its muscle-like branches which are irregularly fluted. Musclewood has many great characteristics: hardiness, pest and insect resistance, lovely bark and limbs, alkaline soil tolerance, 2” to 4” flowers of pendulous leafy green bracts, and superb fall color. References: Barnes BV, Wagner, WH Jr. 2004. In North America there are numerous trees called "Ironwood", here in the East it is usually the American Hornbeam, which is in the beech family (also goes by musclewood, and several other slang) heavy dense, understory tree (not nearly as dense and substantial as western Desert Ironwood). 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. Michigan Press 447 p. Michigan Flora Online. Caitlin is a firm believer that Wisconsin is the best and most beautiful state in the union. She spent her childhood playing outside, and was inspired to work to preserve our region’s natural areas during camping trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness when she was in middle and high school. University of Michigan [Internet]. 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