Carpinus betulus is a small (25m) deciduous tree known as the European or Common Hornbeam and sometimes as Yoke Elm. It is native to western Asia and much of Europe including southern England. It tends to grow in stands of beech or oak and requires a mild climate for good growth. Its buds and leaves are similar to beech and its trunk is smooth and grey-green. The male and female flowers are found on the same tree.
The timber is hard and heavy and has historically been used for making tools and in housebuilding, but also as a slow burning firewood. It was frequently coppiced and pollarded in England. It has also been used as hedging. Its leaves are food to a number of moths and other insects and the seeds favoured by birds, particularly by Hawfinches.
Funky Facts File: Hornbeam is the dominant species in Epping Forest.