Hophornbeam. Ostrya virginiana (Mill.) K. Koch.

Figure 64.—Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)

Other Common Names

Ironwood, deerwood, leverwood, black hazel, Indian cedar

Habitat And Range

The ironwood is common in rich woods in Canada and the eastern United States, and westward to Minnesota and Texas.


This slender tree sometimes attains a height of 50 feet in the western portion of its range, but farther eastward it usually grows only 15 to 20 feet high. The bark is finely furrowed in short lines lengthwise, and the wood is very hard and heavy. The leaves are from 2 1/2 to 4 inches long and about an inch or more wide, resembling the leaves of the sweet birch except that they are rough to the touch instead of smooth and shining. The green inconspicuous male and female flowers are produced from April to May. The male flowers are borne in cylindrical catkins from l 1/2 to 3 inches long and the female flowers in short catkins which mature in July and August into large fruiting cones which very much resemble hops.

Part Used

The bark and inner wood.