Blue Beech

         Caprinus Caroliniana















                                                                                  TREE SHAPE & FORM

                                                                                                 The Blue Beech is recognized for its crooked and fluted trunk.  This deciduous tree is often

                                                                                                 described as resembling a flexed muscle.  Its symmetrical canopy and smooth outline make

                                                                                                 it very attractive. The Blue Beech has a very slow growth rate, and on average reaches 30

                                                                                                 to 40 feet in height. (1, 2, 3)















The bark of the Blue Beech is very thin and hugs

            tightly to the tree's body.  The bark is also

         characterized by it's smoothness as shown

                                                     in Figure 3. (1)


This diagram presents all of the parts of the Carpinus Caroliniana.

The Carpinus Caroliniana, also known as the Blue Beech, American Hornbeam, Ironwood, Musclewood, and Water-Beech



                                                                               The Blue Beech has thin,
                                                                               brown-reddish twigs as shown in
                                                                               Figure 4. (3)

                                                                               This tree has small imbricate buds
                                                                                that are about one-fourth of an inch
                                                                                long.  The buds are generally
                                                                                pointed and hairy, as seen in
                                                                                Figure 4. (2)
                                                                                                       The leaves on the Blue Beech
                                                                                                    are about 2 to 4 inches long.  As                                                                                  
                                                                                                    shown in Figure 5, they possess
                                                                                                    an oblong or ovate shape with double serrated edges. (3)

                                                                                                   The Blue Beech tree has both the
                                                                                                      male and female flowers on the
                                                                                                     same plant.  The female flowers
                                                                                                   are four inches long and attached
                                                                                                         to a 3-winged bract as shown
                                                                                                 in Figure 6, while the male flowers
                                                                                                 are not ornamentally important. (2)


                                                                                                The fruit produced by the Blue Beech tree is primarily a ribbed nutlet that is about 0.16 to 0.24                                                                                         inches long.  The nutlets grow together in small dangling clusters such as that in Figure 7. (1,2)


                                                                                                                                                                                               HABITAT &
WOOD & ITS USES                                        RANGE
The Blue Beech tree is usually considered a small tree                                                                                                         The Blue Beech grows most
or large shrub.  It is often used as a lawn decoration or                                                                                                          readily in the bottom portion of
to line neighborhood streets.  The wood is very hard                                                                                                             mixed-hardwood forests.  Its range
and makes for a great climbing tree for children. (3)                                                                                                              extends from central Maine west to
                                                                                                                                                                                                southwestern Quebec,
                                                                                                                                                                                                southeastern Ontario, northern
                                                                                                                                                                                               Michigan, and northern Minnesota;
                                                                                                                                                                                               south to central Iowa and eastern
                                                                                                                                                                                               Texas; and east to central
                                                                                                                                                                                               Florida. (1)

The Blue Beech has an alternating leaf arrangement, clusters of nutlets with 3-winged bracts that surround them.  It has a very dense foliage.  Another outstanding characteristic is its smooth texture and fluted trunk which help immensely in the identification process. (1, 2, 3)





(1) Sullivan, Janet. 1994. Carpinus caroliniana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online].
            U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
            Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).
            Available: <>  [2007, June 26].

(2) "Carpinus Caroliniana." University of Connecticut. 26 Jun 2007 <>.

(3) Gilman, Edward F. and Dennis G. Watson. "Carpinus Caroliniana." Department of Agriculture. 26 Jun 2007 <>.

(Figure 1) Date retrieved: 06/26/07 < >.

(Figure 2) Date retrieved: 06/26/07 <>.

(Figure 3) Date retrieved: 06/26/07 <>.

(Figure 4) "carcarcm." 26 Jun 2007 <>.

(Figure 5) 2007. Cook, Will. “American Hornbeam (Caprinus Caroliniana)”. Date retrieved: 06/26/07 <>.

(Figure 6) "Beech". 27 Jun 2007 <>.

(Figure 7) Redfearn, Jr., Paul L.. "Cacalia Plantaginea." Missouri State University. 26 Jun 2007 <>.

(Figure 8) Metzger, F.T. “Caprinus Caroliniana Walt”. Date retrieved: 06/26/07 <>.


© 2003 Herrin H.S.