Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana) also called hop hornbeam, is a shade-loving tree of small size with a slender trunk and sparse foliage. It is found throughout Iowa from dry slopes and ridges to moist slopes in the shade of other hardwoods.
Hardiness: Zones 3 through 9
Growth Rate: Slow to Moderate
Mature Shape: Tall oval-canopied deciduous tree
Height: 30 feet
Width: 30 feet
Site Requirements: Full sun o light shade in any average, well-drained soil. Tolerant of urban conditions.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, and double-toothed with equal leaf bases
Flowering Dates: April - May
Seed Dispersal Dates: August - Fall
Seed Bearing Age: 25
Seed Bearing Frequency: Yearly
Seed Stratification: Warm stratification for 2 months at 68°F to 86°F followed by 5 months of pre-chilling at 34°F to 40°F.
While closely resembling the leaves of the elm, the leaves are more finely toothed, tissue paper-like in texture and pale green in color. The buds are small, brown and pointed, and the twigs are much more slender than elm and shiny brown.
The fruit is clusters of leafy, pod like structures which enclose flat, ribbed, pointed nutlets. The light brown or reddish brown bark is finely ridged and covered with fine thin scales. The ridges are never as heavy as the ridges of elm bark. Often, the bark tends to spiral up the trunk.