Slow-growing, small to medium- size trees (seldom more than 40 ft. high and wide), hop hornbeams get their common name from the female flowers and fruit, which are enclosed in bractlike husks that form 112- to 212-in. clusters resembling those of hop (Humulus). Oval, pointed, 4- to 5-in.-long leaves turn from dark green to yellow in fall. Inch-long male catkins are attractive in winter. Wood is hard, heavy, and dense. Grow best in well-drained, slightly acid soil; perform well in city plantings.
Hop hornbeams are attractive trees, but they're little used because of their slow growtha fault to nurseryfolk, perhaps, but a possible advantage from the gardener's point of view.
O. carpinifolia. EUROPEAN HOP HORNBEAM. Scarcely differs from the more common American species, O. virginiana.
O. virginiana. AMERICAN HOP HORNBEAM. Native to eastern North America, where it is typically planted as an understory or street tree.