American Hop Hornbeam

Ostrya virginiana

The American hophornbeam is also commonly referred to as Eastern hophornbeam, leverwood and ironwood. This tree is a small-medium understory tree reaching 30-50’ in height. The leaves on the hophornbeam are serrated along the edges and feel like felt. At maturity the bark is very distinct as it is ragged in appearance, almost like a cat used it as a scratching pole. The buds and catkins of American hophornbeam are an important winter food source for the ruffed grouse, with the nuts being a secondary food in the fall. It is also a preferred food source for sharp-tailed grouse and wild turkey, and is eaten by bobwhite, red and grey squirrels, cottontails, white-tailed deer, ring-necked pheasant, purple finch, rose-breasted grosbeak, and downy woodpeckers. The fruit is similar in appearance to hops, though the two are not related.


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