The European Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) is a medium- to large-sized shade tree. When young, it has a more narrow, pyramidal form but opens up into a broad, oval-shaped crown when mature. Its sharply toothed, ovate, dark clean green leaves are simple but attractive throughout the growing season and turn to an orange-yellow in the fall. In early spring before the foliage comes on, flowering catkins emerge, the males being yellowish and slightly smaller than the greenish females. It also has a smooth gray trunk with unique fluting habits that provides some winter interest.
The European Hornbeam is native to Europe and western Asia. It can be used as a windbreak or hedge when planted in groups or can be a satisfying spectacle on its own with appealing form and ability to provide shade. It grows well in partial to full sun but does best in full sun and can tolerate a variety of soil conditions.