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Woody > Acer > Acer carpinifolium > Acer carpinifolium

Acer carpinifolium

Hornbeam Maple

Origin:  Japan.
            Mike's Opinion

this is Mike


A small tree rarely seen in the landscape, at least in my experience but well worth inclusion in the garden. A rounded form looking more like a hornbeam in leaf than a maple, however it has significant autumn colour and interesting seed.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Sapindaceae (Aceraceae)
Tree (deciduous)
USDA Hardiness Zone
4 - 7
Canadian Hardiness Zone
2a - 6a
RHS Hardiness Zone
H5 - H7
Temperature (°C)
(-34) - (-15)
Temperature (°F)
(-30) - 5
6 - 8 m
6 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
It is a small tree with un-maple-like qualities, ie. multi-stemmed, entire leaves and drooping clusters of seed. This species has been placed on the IUCN Red List as least concern.
The hornbeam maple is a small tree and is a suitable addition to a mixed perennial garden or for use as a patio tree because of its size, although this tree is not commonly found in nurseries.
Hornbeam maple grows best in moist, well drained soils that are sandy-loamy or gritty-loamy in character. It prefers partial sun, but does well in full sun.
Vertical in shape, it is dense and low branched.
ID Characteristic
Hornbeams are easily identified by their lobeless, ovate-oblong leaves that are un-maple like; they look like the true hornbeams (Carpinus). The leaves form hairs upon emergence in the spring and turn a brownish gold in the autumn. The bark is smooth and grey in colour, very similar to some species of Carpinus.
No serious pests, although they may be prone to aphids, borers and caterpillars. Verticullium wilt, leaf spots, tar spots and root rot are also potential diseases.
Bark/Stem Description
The bark is smooth and grey in colour.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
The bud is normally brown but occasionally a reddish colour with the scales imbricate.
Leaf Description
The leaves are 7 - 15 cm in length and 3 - 6 cm in width. They are simple, lobeless, broad and pinnately veined with a serrated margin and 18 - 24 pairs of veins.
Flower Description
The plant is dioecious and produces racemes which flower in May with green, five-stellate flowers.
Fruit Description
The fruit is a samara, approximately 1 cm in length.
Colour Description
Dark green throughout the spring and summer, brownish gold in the autumn.
Texture Description
Fine in texture.
Notable Specimens
The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England.
Ripe seed is best sown immediately in a cold frame and will germinate the following spring with no pre-treatment. Nursery seed should be pre-soaked for up to 24 hours followed by 2-4 months of cool stratification at a temperature of 1-8°C; the seed is slow to germinate.