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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Ostrya virginiana (Eastern hop-hornbeam)
Fannon, Carolyn

Ostrya virginiana

Ostrya virginiana (Mill.) K. Koch

Eastern Hop-hornbeam, American Hop-hornbeam, Woolly Hop-hornbean, Eastern Ironwood, Roughbark Ironwood, Ironwood, Deerwood, Leverwood

Betulaceae (Birch Family)

Synonym(s): Ostrya virginiana var. lasia, Ostrya virginiana var. virginiana


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)


From the Image Gallery

19 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Nut
Size Notes: Up to about 60 feet tall, often shorter.
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Green, Brown

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV , WY
Canada: MB , NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: N.S. to FL Panhandle, w. to Man., e. ND, e. KS & e. TX; also Crook Co., WY
Native Habitat: Well-drained, deciduous woods

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Rich, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Hophornbeam is appropriate for shady locations but also does well in sun, developing a broader crown there. It is not sensitive to drought but will not tolerate flooding. Resistant to insects (except the gypsy moth), disease, wind, ice, and most stresses of urban living. Notoriously sensitive to salt. Slow-growing.


Use Wildlife: Some food value to songbirds and small mammals.
Use Other: This is one of the hardest and toughest of the native woods. It was once used for runners on sleighs. (Hosie)

Only occasionally does this tree grow as much as 30 feet high, or produce a trunk a foot thick, nor does it occur abundantly enough to make it commercially profitable. (Peattie)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds


Description: Sow immediately after collection or pre-treat and sow in early spring.
Seed Collection: Collect seeds when involucres begin to dry – late summer through October. Wear gloves as the seed clusters can cause itchy fingers. Spread in shallow layers to complete drying. Beat fruit in a sack and separate from the debris by winnowing. Cold stratification is the best means of storing over winter.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-MLE-36 Collected 2006-09-28 in Cherokee County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Ostrya virginiana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ostrya virginiana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ostrya virginiana


Record Modified: 2022-09-23
Research By: Joseph A. Marcus

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