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Carpinus betulus

Carpinus betulus, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Magnoliophyta
Classis: Magnoliopsida
Ordo: Fagales
Familia: Betulaceae
Subfamiliae: Coryloideae
Genus: Carpinus
Species: Carpinus betulus


Carpinus betulus L.

Carpinus betulus

Carpinus betulus


* Species Plantarum 2:998. 1753
* USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. 9196

Vernacular names
Български: Обикновен габър
Česky: Habr obecný
Dansk: Almindelig Avnbøg
Deutsch: Hainbuche
English: european hornbeam
Français: Charme commun
Italiano: Carpino bianco
Polski: Grab zwyczajny
Shqip: Shkoza e bardhë
Svenska: Avenbok
Türkçe: Adi gürgen


Carpinus betulus (European or common hornbeam) is a hornbeam native to eastern[1], western, central and southern England. It requires a warm climate for good growth, and occurs only at elevations up to 600 metres. It grows in mixed stands with oak, and in some areas beech, and is also a common tree in scree forests.
European Hornbeam seed catkins

It is a small to medium-size tree reaching heights of 15-25 m, rarely 30 m, and often has a fluted and crooked trunk. The bark is smooth and greenish-grey, even in old trees. The buds, unlike those of the beech, are 10 mm long at the most, and pressed close to the twig. The leaves are alternate, 4-9 cm long, with prominent veins giving a distinctive corrugated texture, and a serrated margin. It is monoecious, and the wind pollinated male and female catkins appear in May after the leaves. The fruit is a small 7-8 mm long nut, partially surrounded by a three-pointed leafy involucre 3-4 cm long; it matures in autumn. The seeds often do not germinate till the spring of the second year after sowing. The hornbeam is a prolific seeder and is marked by vigorous natural regeneration.

Carpinus betulus is a shade-loving tree, which prefers moderate soil fertility and moisture. It has a shallow, wide-spreading root system and is marked by the production of stump sprouts when cut back. Because it stands up well to cutting back and has dense foliage, it has been much used in landscape gardening, mainly as tall hedges and for topiary. The wood is heavy and hard, and is used for tools and building constructions. It also burns hot and slowly, making it a very suitable firewood.[2] This was the reason for lopping and hence indirectly the saving of Epping Forest, where the hornbeam was a favoured pollarding tree.

See also List of Lepidoptera that feed on Carpinus

The leaves provide food for some animals, including Lepidoptera such as the case-bearer moth Coleophora anatipennella.

There are a number of notable forests where C. betulus is a dominant tree species, among which are:

* Epping Forest, Essex/London, UK
* Halltorps Nature Reserve, Oland, Sweden


There are several cultivars, notably 'Fastigiata', or 'Pyramidalis', a very fastigiate tree when young, which has become a popular urban street tree in the UK.

* Den virtuella floran: Carpinus betulus distribution

1. ^
2. ^ Tree Profile for Hornbeam

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