Carpinus cordata
Common Name: hornbeam 
Type: Tree
Family: Betulaceae
Native Range: Japan, northeastern China, Korea, Russia
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 20.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 12.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Street Tree
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Heavy Shade


Easily grown in average, medium moisture soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, organically rich soils in part shade. Tolerates full sun.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Carpinus cordata, sometimes commonly called heartleaf hornbeam, is a slow-growing, densely-branched, deciduous tree with an attractive rounded form that is native to Japan, Korea and China. It typically grows 20-30’ tall by 12-15’ wide, but may reach 50’ tall in its native habitat. In cultivation, it is sometimes grown as a large shrub or screen. It is noted for its graceful form, large heart-shaped leaves, scaly fissured bark, large fruiting catkins and large winter buds. Doubly-serrate, heart-shaped, prominently-veined, dark green leaves to 5.5” long are attractive throughout the growing season. Foliage produces no appreciable fall color. Insignificant tiny greenish flowers appear in spring in separate male and female catkins, with the female catkins giving way to somewhat showy cigar shaped seed pods to 3-5” long. Bigleaf hornbeam is an additional common name sometime used for this tree.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name.

Specific epithet is in reference to the heart-shaped leaf bases.


No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spots, cankers and twig blight are occasional disease problems.


An attractively shaped, low-maintenance understory tree for shady sites. Perhaps best grown in woodland gardens. May also be grown as a screen or large hedge.