Ostrya virginiana

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American hophornbeam
Ostrya virginiana 2.jpg
A hophornbeam branch with the characteristic hops, in early summer

Secure (NatureServe)[1]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fagales
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Ostrya
Species:
O. virginiana
Binomial name
Ostrya virginiana
Ostrya virginiana range map.jpg
Generalized native range
Synonyms[2]
  • Carpinus virginiana Mill.
  • Zugilus virginica Raf.
  • Ostrya italica subsp. virginiana (Mill.) H.J.P.Winkl.
  • Carpinus virginica Münchh.
  • Carpinus triflora Moench
  • Ostrya virginica (Münchh.) Willd.
  • Ostrya americana F.Michx.
  • Ostrya ostrya MacMill.
  • Ostrya baileyi Rose
  • Ostrya guatemalensis (H.J.P.Winkl.) Rose
  • Ostrya mexicana Rose

Ostrya virginiana, the American hophornbeam, is a species of Ostrya native to eastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to southern Manitoba and eastern Wyoming, southeast to northern Florida and southwest to eastern Texas.[3] Populations from Mexico and Central America are also regarded as the same species, although some authors prefer to separate them as a distinct species, Ostrya guatemalensis.[2] Other names include eastern hophornbeam, hardhack (in New England), ironwood, and leverwood.[4][5] In Windsor County, Vermont, the tree has been called remen for generations. The origins of this name are unknown, likely confusion with a tree in Britain known to the colonists.[citation needed]

Description[edit]

American hophornbeam is a small deciduous understory tree growing to 18 m (59 ft) tall and 20–50 centimetres (8–20 in) trunk diameter. The bark is brown to gray-brown, with narrow shaggy plates flaking off, while younger twigs and branches are smoother and gray, with small lenticels.[4][6] Very young twigs are sparsely fuzzy to thickly hairy; the hairs (trichomes) drop off by the next year.[7]

The leaves are ovoid-acute, 5–13 cm (2–5 in) long and 4–6 cm (1 122 14 in) broad, pinnately veined, with a doubly serrated margin. The upper surface is mostly hairless, while the lower surface is sparsely to moderately fuzzy (rarely densely hairy).[4][6]

The flowers are catkins (spikes) produced in early spring at the same time as the new leaves appear. The staminate (male) catkins are 2–5 cm (34–2 in) long,[4] and arranged in groups of 1–4.[6] The pistillate (female) catkins are 8–15 mm (5161932 in) long, containing 10–30 flowers each.[4]

Pollinated female flowers develop into small nutlets 3–5 mm (18316 in) long fully enclosed in a papery sac-shaped involucre 10–18 mm (381116 in) long and 8–10 mm (51638 in) wide.[4] The involucre changes from greenish-white to dull brown as the fruit matures.[6]

American hophornbeam is similar to its close relative American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana), which can be distinguished by its smooth bark and nutlets enclosed in open, three-lobed bracts.[6]

Subdivisions[edit]

There are two subspecies:

  • Ostrya virginiana subsp. guatemalensis (H.J.P.Winkl.) A.E.Murray – central and southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador[8]
  • Ostrya virginiana subsp. virginiana – eastern half of United States, eastern Canada

Populations along the Atlantic coast have slightly smaller leaves, and are sometimes separated as O. virginiana var. lasia Fernald.[4]

Ecology[edit]

The buds and catkins are important source of winter food for some birds, notably ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus).[6]

Uses[edit]

It is grown as an ornamental plant and is sometimes used as a street tree.

Its wood is very resilient and is valued for making tool handles and fence posts.

Being a diffuse porous hardwood and having extremely high density and resistance to compression, it is an excellent material for the construction of wooden longbows.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ostrya virginiana". Natureserve.org. 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Ostrya virginiana". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  3. ^ "Ostrya virginiana". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Furlow, John J. (1997). "Ostrya virginiana". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee. Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 3. New York and Oxford – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  5. ^ Nelson Sutherland, C.H. (2008). Catálogo de las plantes vasculares de Honduras. Espermatofitas: 1-1576. SERNA/Guaymuras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
  6. ^ a b c d e f Hilty, John (2016). "Hop Hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)". Illinois Wildflowers.
  7. ^ Chayka, Katy; Dziuk, Peter (2016). "Ostrya virginiana (Ironwood)". Minnesota Wildflowers.
  8. ^ Whittemore, Alan. "Ostrya virginiana". Flora Mesoamericana. Missouri Botanical Garden – via Tropicos.org.

External links[edit]