These elegant trees have recently been planted (spring 2007) in a avenue from the Embankment towards the Botanic Gardens gate as part of the refurbishments following the building work for the Queen's University Physical Education Centre extension.
The Eastern hop hornbeam (hophornbeam in USA) belongs to the birch family (Betulaceae) and has catkins in spring before the leaves open, that look similar to birch or alder catkins (as in photos taken in April). These are the male flowers; the female flowers are like those of the hop (Humulus lupulus) - hence the name. The seeds are produced in late summer in whitish papery sack-like structures. The trees will eventually reach about 10m height and make an impressive avenue.
Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2007. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.
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