Gerald L. Klingaman
Carpinus betulus 'Fastigiata'
Plant Common Name
European Hornbeam, Upright European Hornbeam
A stately tree with gray branches and trunk, the upright European hornbeam has glossy green foliage and produces interesting strings of yellow-brown fruits in fall. This tall, oval-canopied deciduous tree is native to much of Europe and eastward into Asia Minor. Although named 'Fastigiata', the mature form of this selection is oval to pyramidal, not a tall, narrow, upright spire.
The leaves are oval and have unequal but doubled rows of teeth on their edges. Veins are very depressed and the upper leaf side is a dull, deep green, while the underside is a lighter shiny green. These leaves are held late into fall and may color yellow-green to gold, and in some locales to shades of orange-red. The flowers are not ornamental but are interesting, since they appear as catkins - drooping strands of either male or female gender. These catkins appear in spring prior to leaves emerging. Once pollinated by the wind, the female flowers become long strands of green fruits with three lobed bracts that turn yellowish brown by autumn.
Grow European hornbeam in full sun to light shade in any average, well-draining soil with good fertility. Tolerant of urban conditions, it makes a nice street or shade tree and it also handles heavy pruning well, leading it to be sometimes used as a tall, imposing and stately hedgerow.
AHS Heat Zone
8 - 1
USDA Hardiness Zone
4 - 8
2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17
Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
40'-50' / 12.2m - 15.2m
30'-40' / 9.1m - 12.2m
Europe, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Western Europe, Turkey
Summer, Fall, Winter
Feature Plant, Hedges, Screening / Wind Break, Shade Trees, Street Trees
Sharp or Has Thorns