Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 1299 Carpinus japonica

Common Names: Japanese hornbeam Family: Betulaceae (birch Family)
Image Gallery

Japanese hornbeam
Japanese hornbeam

Description

Japanese hornbeam is a smallish tree, to around 50 ft (15 m) in height in its native Japan, but often less than 30 ft (9 m) tall in cultivation. This is a handsome tree with layered, wide spreading branches and (with age) fissured bark with scaly flakes. The deciduous leaves are oblong, 2-4 in (5-10 cm) in length, downy top and bottom, and with alternating small and larger teeth along the margins. The 20-24 pairs of parallel, recessed veins cause the leaf to appear pleated. In autumn, the leaves sometimes turn a dull reddish brown. Male and female flowers are borne in separate catkins on the same tree. The catkins start out erect and are clothed by overlapping scale-like bracts. The flowers are wind pollinated. After pollination, the catkins become pendulous and look a lot like those of hops. Mature catkins are a couple inches (5 cm) long and contain a hard, ribbed nutlet under each bract.

Japanese hornbeam is similar to American hornbeam (C. caroliniana), but the latter has only 10-14 pairs of leaf veins, smooth, sinewy bark, and larger catkins. Compare Japanese hornbeam also to European hornbeam (C. betulus), which is a larger tree; has fewer leaf veins; and has a very different looking fruiting catkin characterized by leaf-like bracts that have three elongate lobes.

Location

Carpinus japonica (Japanese hornbeam) is native to Japan where it grows in the forest understory.


Culture

Light: Japanese hornbeam is tolerant of full sun to nearly full shade. It probably does best in partial shade throughout most of its useful range, but should get full sun in zone 4 and full shade in zone 8. Moisture: A moist but well drained soils suits this handsome little tree just fine. Japanese hornbeam thrives on neutral to limey soils and, once established, should not need supplemental watering. Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 - 8 . Propagation: Sow ripe seed in autumn and expect germination the following spring. Seed that has become hardened and dry must be pre-stratified under warm, then cool conditions before it will lose dormancy.

Japanese hornbeam
Japanese hornbeam

Usage

This is a low maintenance little tree, ideal for shady areas under big pines or oaks. Japanese hornbeam is among the most useful small specimen trees owing to its slow growth rate and small ultimate size; attractive floral catkins in spring; deeply veined leaves with a pleated appearance in summer; ornamental fruiting clusters in fall; and graceful, layered habit, best appreciated in its winter nakedness. You can use this little subcanopy tree for naturalizing in a woodland setting, or as a stand alone specimen in a small landscape or patio. Japanese hornbeam’s small maximum size makes it a practical street tree, as well.

Features

The genus Carpinus consists of some 35 species of smallish trees and shrubs occurring mainly in eastern Asia with one species in North America, one species in Central America, and two in Europe. All make beautiful specimen trees and at least 18 species can be found in cultivation.

Steve Christman 10/15/17


Master Plant List

Click here to find plants in our Encyclopedia using the Master Plant List grid. Use this widget to search, sort and filter Floridata's plant database to easily locate Plant Profile pages. Use the dropdown menus to filter the grid to display items matching the selected Plant Type and Feature tags.

Plant Type Tags

tree icon
shrub icon
palm
perennial plant icon
aquatic plant icon
cactus and succulents icon
grass icon
vine icon

Feature Tags

Attracts Birds
Attracts butterflies
Attracts Hummingbirds
Edible Plants
Cutting and Arranging
medicinal
for pots and containers
indoors
shade
drought tolerant plants
grows in wet soils
flowers
ornamental fruits
fall color
foliage plants
evergreen
easy to grow plants
fast growing

Site Search

Use Google to search all of the pages on Floridata including the Plant Profile pages




Carpinus species profiled on Floridata:


Carpinus betulus

( European hornbeam,European hornbeam )

Carpinus caroliniana

( American hornbeam, musclewood, ironwood, blue beech )

Carpinus japonica

( Japanese hornbeam )

More Floridata:


Copyright 2015 Floridata.com LLC