Deciduous trees with smooth dark bluish-gray bark, the trunk with irregular ridges extending up and down ("muscle-like"). Twigs slender, zigzag, terete; pith small, round or 5-sided, continuous, pale. Buds usually solitary, ovoid, sessile, oblique, with about twelve 4-ranked scales. Leaf-scars alternate, small, crescent-shaped; bundle-traces 3; stipule-scars unequal.
Fig. 52. Carpinus caroliniana.
1. C. caroliniana Walt. American Hornbeam. Blue-Beech. Water-Beech. Muscle-Tree. A small tree to 15 m. high, trunk short, often leaning, furrowed and ridged; bark dark bluish-gray, smooth, thin, tight; twigs glabrous or nearly so; wood very hard; buds brown, somewhat silky, less than 5 mm. long; staminate catkins entirely enclosed in buds, not visible in winter; fruit subtended by a flat persistent bract which becomes much enlarged (foliaceous) and lobed or incised; nutlet 4 mm. long. Rich woods, New England to Ontario and Minnesota, south to Florida and Texas (Fig. 52).