and Deciduous Forest Trees

of Southern Ontario

Blue Beech
Carpinus Caroliniana

Location in Ontario:
Blue Beech grows throughout the Deciduous Forest Region, on Manitoulin Island, along part of the Ottawa River, and along part of the St. Lawrence River.

The ridged bark of Blue Beech, Rondeau Provincial Park

Genus Carpinus: Leaves are simple with toothed edges, and alternate. Trees are small to medium sized, and  monoecious with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers on the same tree. The fruit is a nut in a leafy bract. The wood is extremely hard. The only species of Carpinus in Ontario is Blue Beech.

Habitat: Blue Beech likes shade! It is an understorey tree that grows along streams and swamps.

Landscape Use: Blue Beech is a small tree that prefers a shady spot. The ridged, silvery bark makes it a unique specimen. The fruit makes an attractive showing as well as the fall colours.

Leaves: Leaves are simple and oval shaped with a sharp tip and teeth along the edges. They have high concentrations of potassium, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus.

shades of red, orange, yellow and purple.

Autumn leaves with a variety of colours

This is a very small tree growing to eight metres and living up to 150 years.

Bark: The bark is blue-gray in colour, smooth and thin.

TREE FACT: Blue Beech is also called "Muscle Tree" due to the muscle-like ridges on the trunk.

Flowers: Blue Beech is monoecious with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers on the same tree. Pollen flowers are long drooping catkins. Seed flowers are found in clusters. Flowers appear in May.

Fruit: The fruit is a small nut that occurs with a leafy bract. Clusters of fruit resemble hops. Fruit appears in the early summer. Seeds are produced every 3 to 5 years, starting at 15 years of age.

Wood: The wood is hard and heavy. Since the tree is relatively small, the wood is not used for lumber. It is, however, used for tool handles.
Specific Gravity: 0.70
Janka Hardness: 1780 lb
Wood Comparison Chart

Rondeau Provincial Park