Hornbeam v. Hophornbeam?

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I have a chance to collect a decent looking tree that my plant identifier app tells me is an American Hophornbeam. Does this variety of hornbeam work for bonsai? Do you know the major differences between the hornbeam and hophornbeam?

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0soyoung

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AFAIK every hormbeam produces seed 'pod' that look like a hop. But all these are varieties of carpinus. Hophornbeams, on the other hand are in ostrya in the birch family - they too have seed thingies that look like a hop. A hop, of course, is a humulus lupulis and what is used to flavor beer. It is all very confusing.

Carpinus turczaninowii (Korean hornbeam) is the most prized carpinus for bonsai. Carpinus orientalis is common in Croatia and is prime species of Walter Pall's 'story book style' bonsai. I have a carpinus japonica (Japanese hornbeam) as a landscape planting which is a very nice vase shaped 15 foot tall shade tree. This species might make into a nice bonsai but it has larger leaves than Korean hornbeam. American hornbeam (carpinus caroliniana) is probably what you've got if it isn't an ostrya instead. Frankly, I don't know what it matters. It is an opportunity to collect a tree and find out what you can do with it. Meanwhile you can check other dendrology resources, such as Virginia Tech's, to reach a conclusion.
 

Hack Yeah!

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@atlarsenal , how did your collected hop do this year? We had compared notes recently and it seemed these recovered better when collected and grown in some native soil the first season
 

atlarsenal

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@atlarsenal , how did your collected hop do this year? We had compared notes recently and it seemed these recovered better when collected and grown in some native soil the first season
I collected a half a dozen hop-hornbeams year before last, bare rooted and potted in bonsai soil, this is the only one that survived.
IMG_20200920_083330110.jpg
This year I left them in field soil and only put down an aereation layer in the bottom of the container and filled in around the open spots with bonsai soil.
IMG_20200920_083347074~2.jpg
IMG_20200920_083410913.jpg
Three of the four I collected survived and the problem with the forth was only one small branch to keep it alive.
IMG_20200920_084845534.jpg
I have no problems bare rooting and potting directly into bonsai soil with American hornbeams.
 
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Zach Smith

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It's just the nature of the species, compared to one another. My long-term survival rate with hornbeam is about 75-80%; with hophornbeam it's much less than 50%. Maybe operator error, but I've seen enough anecdotal evidence that hophornbeams just don't like their roots to be disturbed and react accordingly. I would add the note that here I'm talking about specimens with trunk base > 1". It's easier to collected seedlings with a good survival rate than the larger ones.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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@0soyoung - one of the common names for Carpinus virginiana is loose flowered hornbeam. The seed structure is loose, and to my eye not at all like a hop. The appearance of the seed structure of Ostyra is fairly tight, very much appears like a hop, Humulus seed structure. I forget the botanical name for these structures.

As said above Ostrya virginiana has a flaky bark that is quite different than Carpinus caroliniana. I found Ostrya are usually found in slightly more upland, hence less moist habitats than Carpinus. Both like moisture, but Ostrya always seems to be above the flood plain, where Carpinus can be in the secondary flood plain. Ostrya has a slightly better tolerance of brief droughts than Carpinus, though they do not like to get bone dry. A carpinus might loose branches if allowed to dry to wilt point immediately. Ostrya has kept fine branches even though they were wilted for most of a whole day. Don't let them dry to wilt, a second day wilted they start dying. Best to keep evenly moist. But Ostrya are definitely a little bit more drought tolerant than Carpinus.

Seedlings seem to take well to bonsai potting mix. I have had no experience transplanting more mature trees. Given their more upland habit, the soils are likely deeper, hence roots are deeper, making Ostrya more difficult to collect.

Overall, they seem to have similar ability for fine twiggy branching as Carpinus caroliniana. All in all, once you have a good root system developed, probably just as good for bonsai as Carpinus. I like 'em, though I've only been working with seedlings so far.

some Ostrya seedlings I'm growing in an Anderson flat.
IMG_20200719_173852302.jpg
 

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