Carpinus betulus - L.
Common Name Hornbeam, European hornbeam, Common Hornbeam, European Hornbeam
Family Betulaceae
USDA hardiness 5-7
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Woodlands and hedgerows on sandy or clay loams[17], preferring heavier soils[13].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Sweden to the Pyrenees east to Iran in W. Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.

Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Oval, Vase.

Carpinus betulus Hornbeam,  European hornbeam, Common Hornbeam, European Hornbeam
Carpinus betulus Hornbeam,  European hornbeam, Common Hornbeam, European Hornbeam
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Carpinus betulus is a deciduous Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen in November. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.


Woodland Garden Canopy; not Deep Shade; Hedge;
Edible Uses
None known
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Bach;  Haemostatic;  Ophthalmic.

The leaves are haemostatic[7]. They are used in external compresses to stop bleeding and heal wounds[7]. A distilled water made from the leaves is an effective eye lotion[7]. The leaves are harvested in August and dried for later use[7]. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Tiredness', 'Weariness' and 'Mental and physical exhaustion'[209].


Other Uses
Dye;  Fuel;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Wood.

Plants can be grown as a medium to tall hedge, they retain their dead leaves throughout the winter if clipped at least once a year in late summer[11, 29, 186]. They should not be clipped in spring since they will bleed profusely[200]. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark[115]. Wood - heavy, close grained, hard, very tough, very durable, not very durable according to another report. Used for flooring, cogs, tools, piano mechanisms etc[1, 11, 13, 46, 115]. A good fuel[6].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Espalier, Pest tolerant, Hedge, Superior hedge, Specimen, Street tree. Thrives in any good loam, including chalk[1, 11], it does not demand much light[186]. Prefers a deep open loam[1] and does well on damp clays[186]. Succeeds in all but the most acid soils[186]. Dormant trees are very cold tolerant, the young growth is not usually damaged by late spring frosts[186]. The trees cast a deep shade[98, 186]. A very ornamental plant[1]. Trees are shallow-rooted[7]. The hornbeam has 28 species of associated insects[24]. Trees take 10 - 20 years from seed before they produce seed[98] and about 100 years to reach maturity[186]. At one time this tree was commonly pollarded or coppiced for its wood and for fuel[11, 13, 186]. Special Features: Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Seed - best sown in an outdoors seedbed as soon as it is ripe[78]. Germination is usually good, though it may take 18 months[80]. If collected whilst still 'green' (after the seed is ripe but before it has dried fully on the plant) and sown immediately it should germinate in the following spring[80]. Grow the plants on for two years in the seedbed and then plant them out into their permanent positions in the winter. The average seed viability is around 65%[98]. Pre-treat stored seed with 4 weeks warm and 12 weeks cold stratification and sow in a cold frame[98]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame until they are at least 15cm tall before planting them into their permanent positions.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Carpinus carolinianaAmerican Hornbeam, Blue Beech, Ironwood, American Hornbeam11
Carpinus cordata 00
Carpinus laxiflora 00


Print Friendly and PDF
Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
Colin Munro   Thu Jul 31 2008
Where I live we have a number of hornbeams and they seem to be dying off. The leaves turn yellow and the foliage wilts and within a year the tree is dead. Is there a virus or a disease at the moment that is causing the premature death of hornbeams?
Peter Grzelinski   Mon Jul 20 2009
We have a dead tree in our garden, it was fine last year. there are two more in the village with exactly the same problem, completely dried out and bark is split. Have tried to find the cause but to no avail. Can anyone help?
edward   Tue Jan 19 2010
Without having a look myself, it really is impossible to tell. Honey fungus does not necessarily show above ground - is the inside of the bark covered in thin white fungus when you peel it back? It could be a Phytophthora - this is a tough one to identify as it attacts the roots, but cracking bark at the base of the trunk is a common symptom and if it goes all the way around the tree will die swiftly. I'm afraid that you need to get a pro in - even an expert may need to do a soil test or take samples of the tree before they can diagnose it.

Ashridge Trees - Hornbeam More about Hornbeam

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the website on their phone.
Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Carpinus betulus  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design

Twiter      Facebook


Content Help
Support Us
Old Database Search
About Us
Sign In

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email ePost. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.