Leaf: Alternate, simple, elliptical to ovate, serrated, 3 to 5 inches long, pinnately veined, veins somewhat sunken on upper surface giving the leaf a distinctly quilted look, slightly doubly serrated, waxy smooth, green above and paler below.
Flower: Species is monoecious; males slender, hanging catkins, yellow-green, 1 to 2 inches long; female catkins with more conspicuous leafy bracts, yellow green and 2 to 3 inches long; appearing in mid to late spring.
Fruit: Small, ribbed nutlet carried on a lobed, slightly serrated, folded leafy bract (1 inch long), bracts are clustered on a long (3 inch) hanging stalk; ripen in early fall and disperse through the winter.
Twig: Slender, smooth, red brown, vertical lighter lenticels; 1/4 inch long buds are green turning to a light brown, slightly angled, pointed and curling slightly around twig; flower buds larger and on older parts of twigs.
Bark: Thin, smooth gray brown when young, splitting into shallow furrows; distinctly fluted trunk.
Form: A small to medium sized tree reaching up to 60 feet tall often with a crooked trunk.
Looks like: hornbeam - Japanese hornbeam
Additional Range Information: Carpinus betulus is planted in the USDA hardiness zones shown above and is not known to widely escape cultivaton. Download the full-size PDF map.
External Links: USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2019 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654; range map source information