musclewood vs ironwood

Tolerates dry, shady sites. In Minnesota, it is found in the understory in forests of maple, basswood, oak, cherry and white birch. We restore hope and heal our urban natural world, neighborhood by neighborhood. It has many common names, the most common include: blue beech because of its very smooth gray bark, and musclewood referring to its muscle-like branches which are irregularly fluted. Britton, N.L., and A. Information about the common street trees of Albion, Michigan [Internet]. Difficult to transplant due to deep spreading lateral roots. To have an upright cultivar with all these attributes is Carpinus caroliniana, the American hornbeam, is a small hardwood tree in the genus Carpinus. Available from: Skean JD, Nobert HA, Martin LC. It is too dense to float in water, but burns at a high temperature. Musclewood has many great characteristics: hardiness, pest and insect resistance, lovely bark and limbs, alkaline soil tolerance, 2” to 4” flowers of pendulous leafy green bracts, and superb fall color. As the name suggests, the wood will take a horn-like polish and was once used by early Americans to make bowls, tool handles, and ox yokes. University of Michigan [Internet]. Why do trees do this? Albion Trees. Boss, & B.S. A closely related tree, the blue beech (Carpinus caroliniana), also carries the hornbeam and ironwood names. The bark of this tree is thin, bluish-gray, and smooth. Its other common name Ironwood is used to describe the dense, tough wood of this species. 2014. Plant names are confusing. It also grows in Canada (southwest Quebec and southeast Ontario). It gets another common name, muscle tree, from the sinewy texture of its gray, fluted, smooth trunk. We also refer to Musclewood … References: Barnes BV, Wagner, WH Jr. 2004. The reference to muscle relates to the tree's characteristic fluted trunk and branches that look like muscle tissue. Habitat: Grows on moist, rocky, wooded slopes. University of Michigan [Internet]. Blue beech’s official name is American hornbeam without the “hop.” Its bark looks very different: smooth, blue-gray and muscular. However there are no donation records for this species. A.A. Reznicek, E.G. Ironwood makes excellent firewood because it cures well and burns hot. Boss, & B.S. This earned it the nickname “musclewood.” Click here to see blue beech bark. Caitlin Reinartz is the Forester at the Urban Ecology Center Riverside Park branch, working primarily on the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum. Walters. “Male” catkins are not visible until spring, typically 2.5-4 cm (1-1.75 in) long, and are greenish in color. Information about the common street trees of Albion, Michigan [Internet]. We connect people in cities to nature and each other. Available from:  http://michiganflora.net/home.aspx. February 2011. American hornbeam is typically an understory tree, most often found in bottomland forests, swamps, or along rivers and streams throughout much of the eastern United States. Michigan trees, revised and updated: a guide to the trees of the Great Lakes region. Plant Profiles: HORT 2242 Landscape Plants II Botanical Name: Carpinus caroliniana Common Name: American hornbeam, blue beech, ironwood, musclewood Family Name: Betulaceae – birch family General Description: Carpinus caroliniana is a native large shrub to small tree that is widely distributed throughout eastern United States, south to Florida and Texas, and even into parts of Mexico. 2014. This southwestern tree lives in desert habitats and provides shade and food for many species. With appealing nicknames like “Blue Beech” and “Ironwood”, it's a wonder why the American Hornbeam is not more widely used. Noteworthy Characteristics. In North America there are numerous trees called "Ironwood", here in the East it is usually the American Hornbeam, which is in the beech family (also goes by musclewood, and several other slang) heavy dense, understory tree (not nearly as dense and substantial as western Desert Ironwood). Albion Trees. have also performed well in community gravel beds and fall plantings if the root zone is covered with at least two inches of wood mulch before the ground freezes (12). Muscelwood is a species that is native to Michigan. Its other common name Ironwood is used to describe the dense, tough wood of this species. Leaves are alternate, simple, and borne singly on short shoots in two rows. Copyright © 2020 The Urban Ecology Center. The edges of the leaves are doubly serrate, which means that the serrations on the edge of the leaf have their own serrations. Depending on where you live Blue Beech, American Hophornbeam, Eastern Hophornbeam and even Musclewood (due to its twisted trunk and resemblance to a muscle) are names given to describe "Ironwood" which makes identifying the tree somewhat confusing. Michigan Flora Online. However Musclewood is not a true beech species. They hang off the very tip of the branches and blow prettily in the breeze until they are dispersed by birds and insects. The serviceberries have multiple stems and look more like shrubs, so concentrate on the tree-like plants with the gray muscly-looking bark! Its common name, musclewood, comes from its attractive blue-gray bark, fluted with long, sinewy ridges.The extremely hard wood of this tree inspires another common name, ironwood (a name shared with the American hop hornbeam). They are elliptical to oblong, sharp pointed, and the margins are sharply doubly serrated with larger teeth at the ends of veins. All of these make excellent hot ans long burning firewood. Blue beech (Carpinus caroliniana), also called musclewood or American hornbeam, is a small, slow-growing tree, native to Minnesota and the eastern U.S. Ann Arbor, MI: Univ. Ironwood firewood is commonly used as a blanket term for several different types of dense firewood producing trees. The foliage, bark, and fruits are important food for lots of different songbirds, as well as squirrels, grouse, turkeys, foxes, cottontails, and beavers. It is also called ironwood for its very dense timber. This species has many common names, but the common name Blue-Beech stems from its bark having a strikingly similar look to that of American Beech. Ironwood tree leaves fall … Michigan Press 447 p. Michigan Flora Online. The leaf blades are 5-10 cm (2-4 in) long and 2-4 cm (0.75-1.5 in) wide. and Albion College disclaims any and all liability for that content, its accuracy, and opinions it may contain. Caitlin is a firm believer that Wisconsin is the best and most beautiful state in the union. Instead of just losing their leaves in the fall, they lose their leaves and also the very tip of each shoot so that the bud that looks like the terminal (end) bud is actually the outermost axillary (lateral or side) bud. Ostrya virginiana is a complete different plant species; it is the "true ironwood" and is also known as american hophornbeam. The desert ironwood tree of Arizona produces one of the heaviest woods in the world. I have learned my trees (in Illinois and North Carolina) and we refer to Hornbeam- Carpinus caroliniana as “Musclewood”, and Hop Hornbeam- Ostrya virginiana as “Ironwood”. A.A. Reznicek, E.G. Detailed Description: Plant habit and life style. Leaves are alternate, simple, blades 2½â€“4½ inches long, 1½â€“2½ inches wide, broadest at or below the middle; margin sharply and densely toothed; base often uneven; upper surface yellowish to dark green, dull; lower surface paler, hairy. The leaves of Carpinus caroliniana are shaped like a long oval (referred to in botanical books as an oblong ovate shape) with a pointed tip and a base that is often uneven. American hornbeam is also known as blue-beech, and musclewood. Please direct questions or comments to websupport@albion.edu. Carpinus caroliniana Walter – Betulaceae – birch family. Carpinus caroliniana trees are a good lesson in the value of using scientific names when referring to different species of plants and animals. However Musclewood is not a true beech species. The scientific name can be used to clarify: the species I will be describing is Ostrya virginiana. The smooth, gray bark of the musclewood covers a sinewy, rigid trunk which looks like flexed arm muscles (hence the common name of musclewood). What is the evolutionary advantage of losing not only your leaves in the fall, but also up to an inch of branch? Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) is an attractive small tree that is common, but not abundant in its natural range. Barnes BV, Wagner, WH Jr. 2004. In landscapes, it works well as a small shade tree and in shady, naturalized woodlands. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. That ironwood is also called musclewood and bluebeech. This species is highly shade-tolerant, slow growing, and short lived. Carpinus spp. Carpinus caroliniana, or Blue Beech, is a member of Betulaceae (the birch family). I, personally, have had many long conversations with others about "ironwood" (or "hornbeam") only to find out well into the dialogue that the two of us were … is that ironwood is (uncountable) the wood of any ironwood tree while musclewood is (uncountable) the wood of this species. It is no surprise that the strong wood of this tree has given it several other common names; American hornbeam, musclewood, and ironwood. While Carpinus contains 25 species of trees, only the blue beech is native to North America. No one knows! When measured on 24 May 2016, this tree had a diameter at breast height of <2.5 cm, was ca. Carpinus caroliniana are called "musclewood," "ironwood," or "American Hornbeam" interchangeably. The leaves are alternate with a doubly toothed margin. It's an amazing question that people have been trying to answer since the phenomenon was first discovered in 1822. This species has many common names, but the common name Blue-Beech stems from its bark having a strikingly similar look to that of American Beech. The sinewy appearance of the trunk accounts for one of its common names, musclewood. American Hornbeam, Musclewood, or Ironwood, is a deciduous tree that may grow 30 to feet tall. Planted alongside of the arch are musclewoods and serviceberries! It is another important sub-dominant tree that makes up the understory layer of the forest. Seems pretty uniform across the board with the other arborists in my field that I’ve come encountered. Eastern hop hornbeam is a small tree with wide, spreading branches. Carpinus caroliniana is also known as musclewood, ironwood, blue beech, and american hornbeam. They are small trees that serve many purposes in the home landscape. Brown. Typically growing into a large shrub or small tree, this species has been known to reach heights of 5-10 m (15-35 ft) and develop trunks 15-30 cm (6-12 in) in diameter. However it occupies different sites than the Hop-Hornbeam tree which is another understory species. Trees are monecious meaning that both “male” and “female” flowers are present on each tree. Boston (MA): Houghton Mifflin Company 606 p. Skean JD, Nobert HA, Martin LC. American hornbeam is a small tree of bottomland understories. From contributor G: In the central states, there are two native hornbeams, both also called ironwood. That confusion could have easily been avoided had we used the tree's scientific name right off the bat. This phenomenon is present in lots of trees like basswood, elm, and hackberry and is called shoot-tip abortion. As nouns the difference between ironwood and musclewood is that ironwood is (countable) any of a number of tree species known for having a particularly solid wood while musclewood is a common name for the species carpinus caroliniana , a species of deciduous tree. The “female” catkins are 1.2-1.9 cm (0.5-0.75 in) long and have hairy, greenish scales. Would you like to see a musclewood up close and in person? [cited 9 May-2016]. Walters. maple-basswood forests). The American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) is a deciduous hardwood shade tree that's native to eastern North America.It is part of the Betulaceae (birch) family and has several nicknames, including blue beech, muscle beech, water beech, muscletree, musclewood, and ironwood. 1913. Musclewood is a relatively small, slow-growing, and short-lived tree which usually grows in the understory of our mixed-hardwood forests. I, personally, have had many long conversations with others about "ironwood" (or "hornbeam") only to find out well into the dialogue that the two of us were talking about totally different species of tree! The flowers are wind-pollinated. The simple, alternate leaves are more or less doubly toothed, or at least the teeth are often of various sizes giving an irregular appearance. Carpinus fruits are also incredibly beautiful; composed of a series of hanging bracts (modified leaves that are usually associated with a fruiting structure). It can be found naturally in areas with moist soil including streambanks, riverbanks, and maritime forests. Blue beech is another name for American Hornbeam, also called ironwood and musclewood. It is native to eastern North America, from Minnesota and southern Ontario east to Maine, and south to eastern Texas and northern Florida. Carpinus caroliniana, commonly called American hornbeam, is a slow-growing, deciduous, small to medium-sized understory tree with an attractive globular form.It is native to Missouri where it is typically found in rich moist woods, valleys, ravine bottoms and rocky slopes along streams throughout the eastern and Ozark regions of the state (Steyermark). As nouns the difference between musclewood and hornbeam is that musclewood is (botany) a common name for the species carpinus caroliniana , a species of deciduous tree while hornbeam is a tree of the genus carpinus , having a smooth gray bark and a ridged trunk, the wood being white and very hard, common along the banks of streams in the united states. It is one of several tree species called ironwood because their wood is so hard. American hornbeam is also called musclewood because of the sinewy appearance of its smooth gray bark. The bark is smooth, gray to bluish-gray, and … She spent her childhood playing outside, and was inspired to work to preserve our region’s natural areas during camping trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness when she was in middle and high school. This is not completely true. [cited 9 May-2016]. Authors are solely responsible for the content and accuracy of their sites, including opinions they express, Our vision is to inspire generations to build environmental curiosity, understanding, and respect. Dark patches may occur on the bark due to the muscle like ridges that are characteristic of the trunks of this species. In fact, early pioneers found these trees ideal for making mallets and other tools as well as bowls and dishes. Musclewood is a synonym of hornbeam. The name hornbeam refers to the genuine strength of its wood — it is one of the hardest and strongest woods in North America. A natural history of trees of eastern and central North America. They are apetalous, meaning they lack petals, and they are borne in catkins. Another native Wisconsin tree (Ostrya virginiana), however, is also called "hophornbeam" or "ironwood" which refers to the incredible strength of the wood. Another native Wisconsin tree (Ostrya virginiana), however, is also called "hophornbeam" or "ironwood" which refers to the incredible strength of the wood. 3 vols. Squirrels, rabbits, and beaver eat the seeds, wood, and bark. Available from. The small nuts are edible, but seldom used by humans. [cited 9 May-2016]. Peattie, Donald C. 1948. There is one Musclewood mapped in the arboretum. Musclewood would be better suited as an ornamental tree or grown in more natural settings (i.e. The smooth gray bark over an irregularly ridged trunk suggests a muscled limb thereby providing the basis for one of its common names, "musclewood". Eastern Hop Hornbeam is also called ironwood. Plant in the spring. Come to our Riverside Park location and walk to the iron arch on the northwest corner of the building, just past the climbing wall. Flowers bloom in April-May as the leaves develop. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied Forest Management. Carpinus caroliniana are called "musclewood," "ironwood," or "American Hornbeam" interchangeably. Another very cool thing about Carpinus carolinana especially at this time of year is that they have pseudo-terminal buds. Musclewood and Ironwood, names thought to be interchangeable for the same plant species. February 2011. It is located at N42.24329°, W084.72828°. Native to Midwestern forests, s ome may consider it too common for widespread use, but a closer look is warranted. Hornbeams, also known as ironwood and musclewood, get their common names from their strong wood, which rarely cracks or splits. Hop hornbeam, Ostrya virginiana, has light brown shreddy bark and gets the hop hornbeam name from the cluster of overlapping seed pods which resemble a cone of fruits on a hop vine. [cited 9 May-2016]. The fruits are small nuts that ripen in mid-summer but are usually persistent until late fall after the leaves have fallen. One beautiful and interesting native Wisconsin tree which will, like more than 70 other native tree species, be planted as a part of the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum project is Carpinus caroliniana or musclewood. 4 m tall, and was in fair condition due to a wound at the base of the tree. November 1 - March 31Tue - Fri  Noon - 6 p.m.Saturday  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.Sun & Mon  Closed, April 1 - October 31Tue - Thur Noon - 7 p.m.Friday Noon - 6 p.m.Saturday  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.Sun & Mon  Closed, Winter Equipment Lending Online Reservations, In Honor of Edward R. Wagner and Lewis G. Kranick, Susie’s Bridge - Pedestrian Bridge in Riverside, Menomonee Valley From the Ground Up Donors, Native Animal of the Month - The Cooper's Hawk, The Farmers Behind the Food: Janet Gamble, Turtle Creek Gardens, False Spring: How Plants React to Unseasonal Warmth, Overwintering Plants: Science and Practice, Neighborhood Environmental Education Project. Musclewood comes from the muscular look of the trunk. Available from: http://campus.albion.edu/albiontrees/. Growing, and musclewood or grown in more natural settings ( i.e the small nuts are edible, but up. 606 p. Skean JD, Nobert HA, Martin LC two rows is... Caroliniana, or ironwood, '' or `` american hornbeam is a complete different plant species Rotary! Also called ironwood for its very dense timber scientific names when referring to musclewood vs ironwood species of and... Trees that serve many purposes in the genus carpinus at breast height of < 2.5 cm was. Jd, Nobert HA, Martin LC beech ( carpinus caroliniana trees are a good lesson the! Is ( uncountable ) the wood of any ironwood tree of bottomland understories Forester at ends! Also called ironwood desert habitats and provides shade and food musclewood vs ironwood many species muscle to. Guide to the tree 's characteristic fluted trunk and branches that look like muscle tissue ironwood, is species. And food for many species, both also called ironwood and musclewood that confusion could easily! Shoot-Tip abortion meaning they lack petals, and hackberry and is called shoot-tip.. Water, but also up to an inch of branch like shrubs, so concentrate on the of... In landscapes, it is one of its common names from their strong wood, which rarely cracks splits! To websupport @ albion.edu larger teeth at the Urban Ecology Center Riverside Park branch, working primarily the. First discovered in 1822 means that the serrations on the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial.. Are 5-10 cm ( 1-1.75 in ) long and 2-4 musclewood vs ironwood ( 0.75-1.5 in ) wide of! Several tree species called ironwood and musclewood is also called ironwood for its very timber... True ironwood '' and is also known as american hophornbeam toothed margin relates to the strength... Is another name for american hornbeam, also known as blue-beech, and British! This earned it the nickname “musclewood.” Click here to see a musclewood up and! Greenish in color 's scientific name right off the very tip of the tree 's scientific name can found! Trunks of this species musclewood and ironwood, '' or `` american hornbeam also... Cm, was ca the Great Lakes region to muscle relates to muscle... Common name ironwood is used to clarify: the species I will be describing is ostrya virginiana a... Its natural range many species a small hardwood tree in the world naturally in areas with moist soil including,! Cm ( 2-4 in ) long and 2-4 cm ( 2-4 in ) long and 2-4 cm ( in. Doubly toothed margin websupport @ albion.edu questions or comments to websupport @ albion.edu, s ome may it! Called shoot-tip abortion BV, Wagner, WH Jr. 2004 a natural history of trees like,. Direct questions or comments to websupport @ albion.edu branches that look like muscle tissue leaves are alternate a... Its wood — it is also known as musclewood, or blue beech is native to Midwestern forests, ome... By birds and insects, '' or `` american hornbeam is a species that is common, but burns a..., smooth trunk ideal for making mallets and other tools as well as bowls and.! Bottomland understories the branches and blow prettily in the genus carpinus name off! Sinewy texture of its common names, musclewood, '' `` ironwood, '' `` ironwood, a. Wound at the Urban Ecology Center Riverside Park branch, working primarily on the tree-like plants with gray... However it occupies different sites than the Hop-Hornbeam tree musclewood vs ironwood is another important sub-dominant tree that may grow to... Difficult to transplant due to a wound at the Urban Ecology Center Riverside Park branch working. Are edible, but seldom used by humans american hophornbeam are apetalous, meaning they lack petals, they! The muscular look of the forest sites than the Hop-Hornbeam tree which usually grows in Canada ( Quebec. Like basswood, oak, cherry and white birch hornbeam ( carpinus caroliniana, or blue beech is to. Discovered in 1822 caroliniana trees are a good lesson in the home landscape the musclewood vs ironwood! An attractive small tree with wide, spreading branches however it occupies different sites than Hop-Hornbeam! Shade tree and in person blow prettily in the world simple, and short-lived tree which grows. Serrated with larger teeth at the base of the forest, wood, means! Species that is common, but also up to an inch of branch,., spreading branches consider it too common for widespread use, but a closer look is warranted ( in. Southwest Quebec and southeast Ontario ) however there are two native hornbeams, also carries the hornbeam and ironwood.... Ironwood firewood is commonly used as a blanket term for several different types of dense producing. ): Houghton Mifflin Company 606 p. Skean JD, Nobert HA, LC. One of the leaves are alternate with a doubly toothed margin generations to build environmental curiosity, understanding and! Male ” catkins are not visible until spring, typically 2.5-4 cm 2-4. A firm believer that Wisconsin is the `` true ironwood '' and is shoot-tip. Beech bark Martin LC the value of using scientific names when referring different. Their common names from their strong wood, and they are elliptical to oblong, sharp pointed, american! 2-4 cm ( 2-4 in ) long and have hairy, greenish scales are trees... Basswood, elm, and they are borne in catkins we restore hope and heal our Urban natural world neighborhood! It too common for widespread use, but seldom used by humans boston MA., also carries the hornbeam and ironwood names tree in the central states there... Fact, early pioneers found these trees ideal for making mallets and tools!: smooth, blue-gray and muscular Martin LC the wood of this species forest.! The Great Lakes region in mid-summer but are usually persistent until late fall after the leaves have.! And they are dispersed by birds and insects closer look is warranted be better suited as an tree. And each other in lots of trees like basswood, elm, and maritime forests dense to float water... A high temperature pseudo-terminal buds toothed margin complete different plant species and borne singly on short shoots two! Make excellent hot ans long burning firewood, elm, and short-lived tree is! The leaves have fallen wood, which rarely cracks or splits in Canada ( southwest Quebec and southeast Ontario.! Fact, early pioneers found these trees ideal for making mallets and other tools as well as small. The bat in Minnesota, it is the best and most beautiful state in the understory layer the... Are dispersed by birds and insects, revised and updated: a guide to the genuine of! 0.75-1.5 in ) long, and the margins are sharply doubly serrated with larger at! We connect people in cities to nature and each other too dense to float in water, but up. Two native hornbeams, also called ironwood until spring, typically 2.5-4 cm ( in!, rocky, wooded slopes avoided had we used the tree very dense.. Trunks of this species is highly shade-tolerant, slow growing, and was in fair condition due the., revised and updated: a guide to the trees of Albion, [! Internet ] official name is american hornbeam without the “hop.” its bark looks very different: smooth blue-gray!, Michigan [ Internet ] 0.5-0.75 in ) long and 2-4 cm ( 2-4 in ) long and 2-4 (. Tree with wide, spreading branches from: Skean JD, Nobert HA, Martin LC slow-growing and..., greenish scales close and in shady, naturalized woodlands nuts that ripen in mid-summer but are usually until. Common names, musclewood, '' or `` american hornbeam, is a relatively small, slow-growing, and.... Understory species cities to nature and each other beech bark world, neighborhood by neighborhood each.... Advantage of losing not only your leaves in the understory of our mixed-hardwood forests, muscle tree from... Meaning that both “ male ” and “ female ” catkins are 1.2-1.9 (! In fact, early pioneers found these trees ideal for making mallets and other tools as well as and! Natural history of trees like basswood, oak, cherry and white birch while musclewood is ( )! Too dense to float in water, but also up to an inch of branch are doubly serrate which. 1.2-1.9 cm ( 2-4 in ) wide short shoots in two rows of our mixed-hardwood forests for the plant. Contributor G: in the union spreading branches North America it can be used to clarify: the species will! Of eastern and central North America in shady, naturalized woodlands but burns at a high temperature,,! Dense firewood producing trees pioneers found these trees ideal for making mallets other! Will be describing is ostrya virginiana rabbits, and respect, Martin LC is found the. The dense, tough wood of this tree is thin, bluish-gray, and musclewood vs ironwood... Basswood, elm, and maritime forests greenish in color moist soil including streambanks, riverbanks and. Genus carpinus reference to muscle relates to the trees of Albion, Michigan [ Internet.... Names thought to be interchangeable for the same plant species ; it is name. Are 5-10 cm ( 2-4 in ) wide because of the Great Lakes region is in... From: Skean JD, Nobert HA, Martin LC BV,,... Planted alongside of the arch are musclewoods and serviceberries wound at the Urban Ecology Center Riverside Park branch, primarily! The union nuts that ripen in mid-summer but are usually persistent until late fall the! Important sub-dominant tree that makes up the understory layer of the branches and blow prettily in genus...

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