Carpinus betulus. EUROPEAN HORNBEAM. Southeastern United States.
BETULACEAE (Birch family)

Carpinus, a name that presumably means small-fruited, receives honorable mention by classical Latin authors, for example by Vitruvius, who extols the wood's durability and strength, features that favor its use for hammer and chisel handles today. Until recently it was also used widely to make gear wheels and other machine parts benefiting from impact resistance. The smooth bark is light gray. The finely-toothed leaves resemble birch and alder leaves but the conspicuous catkins, though similar in plan, are distinguished by large papery three-lobed bracts whose dominant central lobes may be almost as long as the leaves.

There are 18 in the formal planting of Knight Plaza (between the Graduate School of Business and the Knight building) and many more at the Cantor Center.

Illustration: McMinn, Howard E. and Evelyn Maino. 1951. An illustrated manual of Pacific coast trees; with lists of trees recommended for various uses on the Pacific coast by H. W. Shepherd. 2d ed. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.

Illustrations (links open new windows): habit 9/26/05 GSB formal planting


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