Leaves and branch of American hornbeam | Photo credit: Larry Korhnak, University of Florida
American hornbeam is a small, slow-growing, and short-lived tree that occupies the forest understory.
Its common name is derived from the tough characteristic of its wood. "Horn" meaning tough and "beam" meaning tree in German. It is also known as ironwood or bluebeech, and is in the birch family - Betulaceae.