American hornbeam Facts

American hornbeam Facts
American hornbeam, also known as blue beech, is a broadleaf tree that belongs to the birch family. It can be found in the eastern parts of the USA. American hornbeam grows on well-drained, fertile, acidic soil, in areas that provide enough sun such as deciduous forests and areas near the streams. American hornbeam is often planted in parks and urban areas because of its ornamental morphology.
Interesting American hornbeam Facts:
American hornbeam can reach 20 to 40 feet in height. It produces one or more short trunks that can reach 1 to 2 feet in diameter.
American hornbeam has dense, rounded crown that can reach 20 feet in diameter. Crown is composed of reddish-brown, smooth or hairy twigs.
American hornbeam has blue grey, smooth bark with vertical markings that create impression of flexed muscle. Thanks to unusual morphology of the bark and extremely hard wood, American hornbeam is also known as "musclewood".
American hornbeam has oval-shaped or elliptical leaves with pointed tips and serrated edges. Upper side of the leaves is smooth, bottom side is usually hairy. Leaves are alternately arranged on the branches. Green color of the leaves transforms into golden yellow color during the autumn.
American hornbeam is monoecious plant. It produces individual male and female flowers on the same tree. Elongated yellow catkins contain male's reproductive organs. Short green catkins contain female's reproductive organs.
American hornbeam blooms during the April. Catkins are designed for pollination by wind.
Fruit of American hornbeam is oval-shaped, green, hairy samara equipped with wings. Fruit is arranged in dense, drooping clusters that can be seen from September to October.
American hornbeam starts to produce fruit at the age of 15 years and continues until the age of 75 years.
Fruit and seed of American hornbeam are important source of food for ruffed grouses, wild turkeys, pheasants, foxes and squirrels. White-tailed deer and eastern cottontail eat leaves and twigs. Beavers and grey squirrels strip and eat bark of American hornbeam.
Beavers use American hornbeam for the construction of dams on the rivers.
American hornbeam has strong, creamy-colored wood that is used for the manufacture of furniture, butchers' blocks, tool handles and cogs for the windmills and watermills.
Wood of American hornbeam is also used as a source of firewood and for the manufacture of charcoal.
Leaves of American hornbeam were used to accelerate healing of the wounds and to stop the bleeding. Tonic made of this plant was used as remedy for tiredness and exhaustion in the past.
Name "hornbeam" originates from old English words "horn", which was used to describe strong wood and "beam", that was used as a synonym for tree.
American hornbeam can survive more than 300 years under optimal conditions.

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