Hornbeam Tree Names and Types of Carpinus Species

Picture of a Hornbeam Tree
Hornbeam Tree (Carpinus betulus)
European or Common Hornbeam
(Carpinus betulus).
Picture by Willow, Picture use (cc1)

Hornbeam (Carpinus) trees produce very hard wood, giving rise to the name iron-wood. In Europe it is used for making tools such as carving boards, coach wheels, mallet heads, levers and other tool handles. Hornbeam trees are sometimes coppiced to produce hardwood poles. Carpinus betulus has a tough wood that is used in agricultural implements throughout Europe. Hornbeam wood is also used in parquet flooring.

The common name of Hornbeam in English derives from two of its properties, the hardness of the wood (likened to horn) and the Old English name for tree "beam" (cognate with German for tree; "baum"). The hop-hornbeam (Ostrya) is a different genus of the birch family and should not be misplaced in the Carpinus genus because of its common name. Most botanists place the Carpinus genus (hornbeams) in the birch family Betulaceae, but some group them with the Corylus (Hazels) and Ostrya (hop-hornbeams) in a segregate family, Corylaceae.

There are approximately 41 species of Carpinus, which can be found in much of the north temperate regions. Two species are native to Europe, and only one in eastern North America The rest of the species are native in east Asia, especially China.

The leaves of Carpinus are deciduous. The male and female flowers are on separate catkins, but on the same tree, so the tree is described as being monoecious. The fruit is a small nut about 3 to 6 mm long, held in a leafy bract; the bract may be either trilobed or simple oval, and is slightly asymmetrical. The asymmetry of the seed wing makes it spin as it falls, improving wind dispersal. The shape of the wing is important in the identification of different hornbeam species. There are typically 10 to 30 seeds on each seed catkin.

Facts about the Carpinus Genus of Trees
  • Genus Latin Scientific Name = Carpinus.
  • Genus Latin Name Pronunciation: kar-PINE-us
  • Genus Latin Name Meaning: Ancient Latin for Hornbeam
  • Genus Common Names = Hornbeam. List of Carpinus Vernacular Names
  • Number of Taxa (Types) in the Carpinus Genus = 68
List of Hornbeam Trees, Carpinus Genus, All known species, taxa types, organized by scientific Latin botanical name first and common names second
List of Hornbeam Tree Names
Botanical Tree NameCommon Tree Name
Carpinus betulus European Hornbeam
Carpinus caroliniana American Hornbeam, Blue-beech, Ironwood, Musclewood
Carpinus caroliniana ssp. caroliniana American Hornbeam
Carpinus caroliniana ssp. virginiana American Hornbeam
Carpinus cordata Sawa Hornbeam
Carpinus cordata var. chinensis¡ ?
Carpinus cordata var. cordata¡ ?
Carpinus cordata var. mollis¡ ?
Carpinus dayongiana¡ ?
Carpinus eximiaKorean Hornbeam
Carpinus faginea ¡ ?
Carpinus fangiana¡ ?
Carpinus fargesiana¡ ?
Carpinus fargesiana var. fargesiana¡ ?
Carpinus fargesiana var. hwai¡ ?
Carpinus fargesii Farges' Hornbeam
Carpinus hebestroma¡ ?
Carpinus henryana¡ ?
Carpinus henryana var. henryana¡ ?
Carpinus henryana var. oblongifolia¡ ?
Carpinus henryana var. simplicidentata¡ ?
Carpinus japonica Japanese Hornbeam
Carpinus kawakamii¡ ?
Carpinus kawakamii var. kawakamii¡ ?
Carpinus kawakamii var. minutiserrata¡ ?
Carpinus kweichowensis¡ ?
Carpinus laxiflora Aka-shide Hornbeam
Carpinus lipoensis¡ ?
Carpinus londoniana¡ ?
Carpinus londoniana var. lanceolata¡ ?
Carpinus londoniana var. latifolius¡ ?
Carpinus londoniana var. londoniana¡ ?
Carpinus londoniana var. xiphobracteata¡ ?
Carpinus luochengensis¡ ?
Carpinus mengshanensis¡ ?
Carpinus mianningensis¡ ?
Carpinus microphylla¡ ?
Carpinus mollicoma¡ ?
Carpinus monbeigiana¡ ?
Carpinus omeiensis¡ ?
Carpinus orientalis Oriental Hornbeam
Carpinus orientalis ssp. macrocarpa¡ ?
Carpinus orientalis ssp. orientalisOriental Hornbeam
Carpinus paohsingensis¡ ?
Carpinus polyneura¡ ?
Carpinus polyneura var. polyneura¡ ?
Carpinus polyneura var. sunpanensis¡ ?
Carpinus polyneura var. tsunyihensis¡ ?
Carpinus pubescens¡ ?
Carpinus pubescens var. firmifolia¡ ?
Carpinus pubescens var. pubescens¡ ?
Carpinus purpurinervis¡ ?
Carpinus putoensisPutuo Hornbeam
Carpinus rankanensis¡ ?
Carpinus rankanensis var. mutsudae¡ ?
Carpinus rankanensis var. rankanensis¡ ?
Carpinus rupestris¡ ?
Carpinus schuschaensis¡ ?
Carpinus shensiensis¡ ?
Carpinus shimenensis¡ ?
Carpinus tientaiensis¡ ?
Carpinus tropicalis¡ ?
Carpinus tropicalis ssp. mexicana¡ ?
Carpinus tropicalis ssp. tropicalis¡ ?
Carpinus tsaiana¡ ?
Carpinus tschonoskii Chonowski's Hornbeam
Carpinus turczaninowii Turkzaninov's Hornbeam
Carpinus viminea¡ ?
European hornbeam being Coppiced in England
Carpinus betulus (European hornbeam)
being Coppiced in England.
Picture by Graham Burnett, Picture use (cc1)

List of Carpinus Vernacular Names

български: Габър
Català: Carpí
česky: Habr
dansk: Avnbøg
Deutsch: Hainbuchen
English: Hornbeam
español: Carpinus
Esperanto: Karpeno
فارسی: ممرز
français: Charme
한국어: 서어나무속
Հայերեն: Բոխենի, բոխի, արժի, ծինկարի, նշդարի
македонски: Габер
日本語: クマシデ属
Türkçe: Gürgen