Carpinus orientalis
Common Name: oriental hornbeam 
Type: Tree
Family: Betulaceae
Native Range: Western Asia, southeastern Europe
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 15.00 to 25.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Street Tree
Flower: Insignificant
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Tolerates full sun. Prefers moist, organically rich soils in part shade. Established plants have some tolerance for drought.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Carpinus orientalis, commonly called oriental hornbeam, is a slow-growing, densely-branched, catkin-bearing, deciduous shrub or small tree that is native from southeastern Europe to Western Asia. It typically grows to 20-25' tall, but infrequently soars to as much as 50' tall or, at the other extreme, matures as a tall shrub to only 12-15' tall. Small, doubly-serrate, oval-elliptic, glossy dark green leaves (to 2" long) are glabrous beneath except for having pilose mid-ribs. Leaves are much smaller than the 5" long leaves typically found on C. betulus (European hornbeam) or C. caroliniana (American hornbeam). Flowers appear in spring in separate male and female catkins, with the female catkins giving way to distinctive clusters of winged nutlets. Fall color comes late and is usually insignificant (dull yellows and reds). Established plants are drought tolerant. Uncommonly found for sale in commerce in the U.S.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name.

Specific epithet means from the Orient.

Common name of hornbeam is in reference to the extremely hard wood (takes a horn-like polish) found in trees of the genus Carpinus.


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. Woodland gardens. May also be grown as a screen or large hedge.