Carpinus caroliniana Walter - Blue Beech, Musclewood


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Carpinus caroliniana - (image 1 of 8)



Family: Betulaceae


Mesic woods, where it grows as an understory tree.


Botrychium virginianum, Carya cordiformis, Claytonia virginica, Dentaria laciniata, Fraxinus americana, Osmorhiza claytonii, Prunus serotina, Prunus virginiana, Quercus alba, Quercus rubra, Rhus radicans, Smilacina racemosa, Tilia americana. Also Acer saccharum, Erythronium americanum, Fagus grandifolia, Hamamelis virginiana, Lindera benzoin, Ribes cynosbati, Sassafras albinum, Solidago caesia.


Nova Scotia west to MN, south FL to TX.


Small tree to 10 m. Trunk muscular-looking, with smooth, blue-gray to ashy-gray bark. Leaves alternate, acute or acuminate, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, serrate to inconspicously double-serrate. Lateral veins never branched, puberulent beneath. Delicate branching. Trunk smooth with sinewy ridges (muscular-looking). Bark smooth, tight, gray or blue-gray.


Flowers late March to mid May

Wetland indicator: Facultative

Great small tree for the wooded landscape. Fall color can range from yellow to brilliant red-orange. The smooth bark is ornamental as well.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




Michael Hough 2004