Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group. The tree tag number relates to the black tree maintenance tags, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Family: Betulaceae
Ostrya virginiana (Mill.) K.Koch
Eastern hop-hornbeam (American hophornbeam, ironwood)

Black tag 430/433
54o 34.879N
5o 55.761W

These elegant trees have recently been planted (spring 2007) in a avenue leading from the Embankment towards the Botanic Gardens gate as part of the refurbishments following building work for the extension to Queen's University Physical Education Centre.

The Eastern hop hornbeam (hophornbeam in USA) belongs to the birch family (Betulaceae) and has catkins in spring before the leaves open, that are similar in appearance to birch or alder catkins (as in photos taken in April). These are the male flowers; the female flowers resemble those of the hop (Humulus lupulus) - hence the name. The seeds are produced in late summer in whitish papery sack-like structures. Trees will eventually reach around 10m in height and can make an impressive avenue.

Ostrya virginiana in Belfast Botanic Gardens Ostrya virginiana planted 2007
Avenue of Ostrya virginiana in Belfast Botanic Gardens Young Ostrya virginiana
Ostrya virginiana catkins Ostrya virginiana catkins
Catkins of Ostrya virginiana Catkins of Ostrya virginiana

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2007. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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