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Carpinus orientalis Mill.

Oriental Hornbeam

Modern name

Carpinus orientalis Mill.


C. duinensis Scop.

A small tree, or a large shrub, sometimes found in a wild state as a scrubby bush; young shoots covered with fine silky down. Leaves ovate, 1 to 2 in. long, 12 to 1 in. wide; rounded or slightly wedge-shaped at the base, pointed; sharply, regularly, and prettily double-toothed; veins in twelve to fifteen pairs; dark glossy green above, with silky down on both surfaces of the midrib; stalk hairy, 13 to 14 in. long. Male catkins 12 to 34 in. long. Fruit clusters 1316 to 238 in.; bracts ovate, unequal-sided, 58 to 78 in. long, 12 in. wide, coarsely and irregularly toothed, but not lobed. Nut 16 in. long, exposed.

Native of S.E. Europe and Asia Minor; introduced in 1735 by P. Miller. It is abundant on some of the battlefields of the Crimea as low scrub, and, as I have been told by an officer who took part in the Crimean war, much impeded some of the advances of our men, made under cover of darkness. It has not much to commend it to the notice of planters in this country except as being an interesting rarity. The largest specimen at Kew, and probably in the country, is 50 ft high with a girth of 534 ft (1960). It was planted in 1878. In Finsbury Park, London, there is a specimen measuring 35 × 334 ft (1955).

Its small leaves and the unlobed bracts of the fruit clusters distinguish it from C. betulus and C. caroliniana.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

specimens: Kew, pl. 1878, a tree on three stems and about 36 ft high and, pl. 1908, 53 × 414 ft (1972).

† C schuschaensis Winkl. – This is at most a small tree, and often a dwarf, thicket-forming shrub. It differs from C. orientalis in having larger leaves and bracts that are obscurely lobed at the base. It is possibly the result of hybridisation between C. orientalis and C. betulus. Introduced by Mrs Ala and Roy Lancaster from the Elburz mountains of Iran in 1972.



Other species in the genus