Carpinus betulus chimera

An unusual hornbeam tree

Family: Betulaceae
54º 34.967N
5º 55.905W

The tree tag number relates to the black tree-maintenance tags, usually fixed on the trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.

This tree is clearly a hornbeam, but its range of leaf shapes, often on the same branch, suggests that it might be a chimera rather than an unusual cut-leaf variety of the common hornbeam. A chimera is not a true hybrid but a plant with cells from two distinct plants, usually formed in grafting when cells from the rootstock are mixed with cells from the scion. A more commonly known, and dramatic, example is the +Laburnocytisus ‘Adamii’ . In the case of our tree, the likely origin is from a cut-leaf hornbeam (probably Carpinus betulus ‘Asplenifolius) grafted onto the a normal hornbeam – this would be the normal commercial method of propagating the cut-leaf form.

Copyright Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens