Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ironwood Trees

I grew up in northern Indiana in a lovely house on Ironwood Rd. but I never saw an ironwood tree until we moved to this place.

Our woods are full of them.  Carpinus caroliniana.  They're also called blue beech and hornbeam trees.  They love deep moist soil along creeks and swamps.  

The wood is hard and the trunks of young trees look like muscles.   They're sort of hexagonal in places.   Very cool.   [And hard to photograph, so sorry there's no pic.]

But they have very interesting catkins, too.   Catkins are what you call those droopy tree flowers.  

These look like little lanterns when the sun hits them.   If I were crafty, I'd make little lanterns like these to go over twinkle lights.  How cool would that be?!

I'm not convinced that these catkins are from the  Carpinus caroliniana. Usually those have a thumb that sticks off the top of each petal and they turn brown faster.   These leaves are right, but the trunk is more beech like and less muscle-y than true ironwoods.   

If anyone can identify, shout out in the comments.


  1. Michelle Rink DobskiJuly 14, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    I grew up and still live in South Bend, IN. In fact, I live just off North Ironwood Dr. What part of town did you grow up in? I went to Clay High School.

    1. Michelle Rink DobskiJuly 14, 2013 at 12:58 PM

      By the way I'm new to your blog, but I LOVE it!!

    2. Thanks, Michelle! Clay High School, class of 1981. I believe your brother, Tim, was in my class? It's nice to have another reader from South Bend.


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