Audubon® American Hop Hornbeam
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Relatively common but nondescript, American Hop Hornbeam goes unnoticed by most people - but is highly valuable for birds. The tree produces nuts which are encased in papery capsules and provide much-needed nourishment for avian residents in cold winter seasons. Relatively common but nondescript, it goes unnoticed by most people. It does not go unnoticed by birds, however. Its tasty nutlets, which hang in papery sacks throughout fall and winter, provide valuable cold-season nourishment to our avian winter residents. Chickadees, titmice, finches, wrens, and sparrows pick at the seeds until they’re gone. In wild spaces, turkeys, grouse, and quail may visit Hop Hornbeam. Not a flashy tree, but quite lovable.
May Benefit & Attract: chickadees, titmice, finches, wrens, sparrows, turkeys, grouse, and quail
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
- Hardiness Zone: 3-9
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Few people could identify Hop Hornbeam in the wild, though it grows over much of the Eastern U.S., from Minnesota to Texas and east until you reach the coastal pains. It exists as an understory Tree in acidic woodland environments and has also found a niche on dry, rocky outcroppings in sunnier sites. Hop Hornbeam is also called Ironwood because of its densely grained wood; it's harder than Oak, Hickory, or even Persimmon. Settlers fashioned Hop Hornbeam into durable items like ax handles and sleigh runners, but you'll appreciate it for its strength in the landscape under the pressure of ice, snow, and wind.
The 'Hop' in Hop Hornbeam comes from the interesting seed cases, which look like the dangling fruits of the Hop Vine. Chickadees and titmice may come to feed on the seeds when they ripen. In rural areas, turkeys and grouse enjoy the seeds after they've fallen to the ground.
How to Grow
Largely trouble-free and accommodating, Hop Hornbeam is a good Tree for beginning gardeners and for challenging sites. Give it a spot in full sun or part shade in any kind of soil except those prone to wetness. Water regularly the first year or two; after that, normal rainfall should suffice. One thing Hop Hornbeam is sensitive to is salt spray; it is not a good choice for coastal gardens. Prune in summer or fall to avoid the heavy 'bleeding' of sap that occurs in late winter. Bleeding isn't harmful to the tree, but may seem troubling to you!
This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.