and Deciduous Forest Trees

of Southern Ontario

Hop Hornbeam
Ostrya Vrginiana

Location in Ontario:
Hop-Hornbeam grows throughout the Deciduous Forest Region and northward.

Hop Hornbeam, University of Guelph Arboretum

Genus Ostrya: Ostrya have leaves that are simple and alternate with double toothed edges. The bark is rough and shreddy. Trees are monoecious with male and female flowers on the same tree. The fruit is a nutlet enclosed in a bladder-like structure. Fruit occur in clusters. The wood is very hard. The only species of Ostrya in Ontario is Hop-Hornbeam (Ironwood).

Landscape Use:
This small tree is not often seen as an ornamental due to its slow growth. It has attractive shreddy bark and fruit that resembles hops.

Habitat: Hop-Hornbeam is an understorey tree that prefers well-drained soil

TREE FACT: In Canada, this tree is also called "Ironwood" because the wood is heavy and very hard, like iron. However, the name Ironwood is also used for other species (example, Blue Beech).

Leaves: The leaves are simple with sharp teeth. They have high levels of calcium and nitrogen.

FALL COLOUR WATCH:  yellow to brown

Size: This is a small tree up to 12 metres and living to 150 years.

Bark: The bark is grayish-brown with short loose strips.

Shreddy bark 

Flowers: Monoecious with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers on the same tree. Both male and female flowers are in catkins. Male catkins are longer and appear in the fall. Female catkins appear in May.


Fruit: The fruit is a small flattened nut which appears in the summer and matures in September.


TREE FACT: The "hop" portion of Hop-Hornbeam's name comes from the resemblance of its fruits to those of true hops (used to make beer). "Horn" refers to an ox, and "beam" refers to a wooden yoke. Hop-Hornbeam is strong enough wood to be used as a yoke for oxen.

Wood: The wood is hard and heavy. The wood is of small size and used for tool handles.
Specific gravity: 0.70
Janka Hardness: 1860 lb
Wood Comparison Chart

Long Point, Norfolk County