The Common Hornbeam is a medium-sized deciduous tree related to birches and
alders with smooth grey bark.
It is native to Britain and grows in the warmer southern areas of the country, often
alongside oaks and beeches.
The leaves are similar to beech in shape and colour but, unlike beech, they are
sharply serrated and more deeply veined. Hornbeams are wind-pollinated and in late
spring male and female catkins appear after the leaves.
Hornbeam wood is very hard and was once used to make tools. It was also grown for
fuel, as the wood burns very slowly. Many were planted for this purpose in Epping
Forest, where they were pollarded on a regular basis to provide new growth.
Hornbeams are widely used today for hedging and topiary as the plants will re-grow,
even if cut back quite severely.

Tree Trail Stop 8: Hornbeam