An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

American Hophornbeam Fruiting

9-26-17 hophornbeam fruit 049A5466The fruits of the Hophornbeam tree (Ostrya virginiana), also known as Ironwood for its strong, hard wood, are drooping clusters of papery, bladder-like sacs each containing a nutlet. The “hop” portion of its name refers to the resemblance of these fruits to those of true hops that are used in the production of beer. Hornbeam refers to a related European tree whose wood was used to yoke oxen; therefore, its American counterpart wood was also used as a “beam” with which to yoke “horned” beasts of burden.

 

5 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Super interesting how the name came to be!

    September 26, 2017 at 9:45 am

  2. Cecelia Blair

    I have always wanted to know why hornbeams are called that. Thank you for discovering this fact!

    September 26, 2017 at 10:34 am

  3. Clyde

    Ah the ever wise Mary. I knew the hop side of the story, but not the ox yoke side.

    September 26, 2017 at 10:52 am

  4. Marilyn

    So that’s what it is! I’ve lived here for years And this is the first time I’ve seen these weird fruits dangling over the lawn.

    September 26, 2017 at 11:10 am

  5. Susan Brown

    Joey, My memory may be failing, but I don’t recall seeing anything like this on our hike in Hubbardton. There were the beech nuts and black walnuts (I think). I don’t remember seeing any hop hornbeam fruits. I have seen their hop- like fruits on the ground in mid-July so I would guess that they bloom earlier in the summer. Sue

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    September 27, 2017 at 8:51 pm

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