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Classification, origin and diffusion
Division: Spermatophyta Subdivision: Angiospermae
Class: Dicotyledones Family: Corylaceae
The black hornbeam or Carpinella, a plant native to south-eastern Europe, is found in a vast range that goes from southern France, to Italy, the Balkans to the Middle East and the Caucasus. It has a high ecological adaptability, and in Italy it is dispersed in hilly and mountainous areas up to 1300 meters. Foma beautiful woods on all limestone Prealps.
Black hornbeam or Carpinella - Ostrya carpinifolia Scop. (website photo)
White hornbeam fruits on the left and black hornbeam fruits on the right
Black hornbeam (photo www.forestryimages.org)
Size and bearing
Up to 15 meters high, it has light and light green pyramidal crowns, with horizontal boxes.
Trunk and bark
Straight trunk, sometimes polyconic, with brown bark, wrinkled and cracked in small rectangular plates.
Deciduous, alternate, petiolate, with ovate plate, sharp apex and rounded basal part, double serration. The secondary ribs are parallel.
The male inflorescences (catkins) are up to 10 cm long, the female ones (spikes) are shorter. It blooms in April-May. Each female flower is wrapped in a bract which, after fertilization, enlarges and closes itself in a sack including the pericarp. This light sack facilitates the flight of the fruit and protects the seed during the early stages of germination.
In the past, its wood was used in the production of charcoal and firewood. Difficult to process due to the presence of many irregular fibers. In recent years, also revalued as an essence of landscape interest, also for its limited substrate needs; it is used to form hedges and road trees (exploiting its polloniferous capacity).
The white hornbeam has similar leaves, but more compact and dark foliage, smooth dark gray bark and bract of the trefoil fruit.