Ostrya virginiana (Mill.) K.Kock

Eastern hop-hornbeam (American hophornbeam or ironwood)

Family: Betulaceae
54º 34.879N
5º 55.761W

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

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.

Also in the Botanic gardens is an example of the European hop-hornbeam, Ostrya carpinifolia.

2023 – a few of the original trees have been lost and a few are not developing well. The more successful trees are already developing a handsome shape as the photo below shows.