Carpinus japonica

Common Name: Japanese hornbeam 
Type: Tree
Family: Betulaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 20.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 20.00 to 30.00 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: Heavy Shade


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

Noteworthy Characteristics

Carpinus japonica, commonly called Japanese hornbeam, is a slow-growing, deciduous, small to medium-sized understory tree with an attractive spreading globular form. It typically grows 20-30’ tall in cultivation, but may reach 50’ tall in its native habit in Japan. It is noted for its graceful form, attractive foliage and ornamental fruiting catkins. Foliage features doubly-toothed, oblong-lanceolate, taper-pointed, lush dark green leaves with prominent veining. The leaf bases may be rounded to slightly cordate to lopsided. Fall color is negligible. Brown fruiting catkins (to 2.5” long) are sausage-shaped, featuring dense overlapping bracts.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name.

Specific epithet means of Japan.


No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spots, cankers and twig blight infrequently occur.


An attractively shaped, low-maintenance understory tree for shady sites. May be grown in lawns or naturalized in woodland areas.