Musclewood and Ironwood, names thought to be interchangeable for the same plant species. It gets another common name, muscle tree, from the sinewy texture of its gray, fluted, smooth trunk. The bark of this tree is thin, bluish-gray, and smooth. The reference to muscle relates to the tree's characteristic fluted trunk and branches that look like muscle tissue. have also performed well in community gravel beds and fall plantings if the root zone is covered with at least two inches of wood mulch before the ground freezes (12). is that ironwood is (uncountable) the wood of any ironwood tree while musclewood is (uncountable) the wood of this species. Musclewood is a synonym of hornbeam. We also refer to Musclewood … Peattie, Donald C. 1948. The simple, alternate leaves are more or less doubly toothed, or at least the teeth are often of various sizes giving an irregular appearance. Carpinus caroliniana, commonly called American hornbeam, is a slow-growing, deciduous, small to medium-sized understory tree with an attractive globular form.It is native to Missouri where it is typically found in rich moist woods, valleys, ravine bottoms and rocky slopes along streams throughout the eastern and Ozark regions of the state (Steyermark). Musclewood is a relatively small, slow-growing, and short-lived tree which usually grows in the understory of our mixed-hardwood forests. It is no surprise that the strong wood of this tree has given it several other common names; American hornbeam, musclewood, and ironwood. The fruits are small nuts that ripen in mid-summer but are usually persistent until late fall after the leaves have fallen. It is too dense to float in water, but burns at a high temperature. Ostrya virginiana is a complete different plant species; it is the "true ironwood" and is also known as american hophornbeam. It's an amazing question that people have been trying to answer since the phenomenon was first discovered in 1822. This species is highly shade-tolerant, slow growing, and short lived. That confusion could have easily been avoided had we used the tree's scientific name right off the bat. November 1 - March 31Tue - Fri  Noon - 6 p.m.Saturday  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.Sun & Mon  Closed, April 1 - October 31Tue - Thur Noon - 7 p.m.Friday Noon - 6 p.m.Saturday  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.Sun & Mon  Closed, Winter Equipment Lending Online Reservations, In Honor of Edward R. Wagner and Lewis G. Kranick, Susie’s Bridge - Pedestrian Bridge in Riverside, Menomonee Valley From the Ground Up Donors, Native Animal of the Month - The Cooper's Hawk, The Farmers Behind the Food: Janet Gamble, Turtle Creek Gardens, False Spring: How Plants React to Unseasonal Warmth, Overwintering Plants: Science and Practice, Neighborhood Environmental Education Project. This species has many common names, but the common name Blue-Beech stems from its bark having a strikingly similar look to that of American Beech. In Minnesota, it is found in the understory in forests of maple, basswood, oak, cherry and white birch. I, personally, have had many long conversations with others about "ironwood" (or "hornbeam") only to find out well into the dialogue that the two of us were … Boston (MA): Houghton Mifflin Company 606 p. Skean JD, Nobert HA, Martin LC. [cited 9 May-2016]. One beautiful and interesting native Wisconsin tree which will, like more than 70 other native tree species, be planted as a part of the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum project is Carpinus caroliniana or musclewood. Available from: Skean JD, Nobert HA, Martin LC. Seems pretty uniform across the board with the other arborists in my field that I’ve come encountered. This phenomenon is present in lots of trees like basswood, elm, and hackberry and is called shoot-tip abortion. It can be found naturally in areas with moist soil including streambanks, riverbanks, and maritime forests. Detailed Description: Plant habit and life style. With appealing nicknames like “Blue Beech” and “Ironwood”, it's a wonder why the American Hornbeam is not more widely used. We restore hope and heal our urban natural world, neighborhood by neighborhood. Another native Wisconsin tree (Ostrya virginiana), however, is also called "hophornbeam" or "ironwood" which refers to the incredible strength of the wood. Plant names are confusing. Copyright © 2020 The Urban Ecology Center. The “female” catkins are 1.2-1.9 cm (0.5-0.75 in) long and have hairy, greenish scales. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied Forest Management. American hornbeam is a small tree of bottomland understories. A.A. Reznicek, E.G. University of Michigan [Internet]. The name hornbeam refers to the genuine strength of its wood — it is one of the hardest and strongest woods in North America. 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