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Japanese hornbeam. A most elegant ornamental tree, introduced to the UK in 1895, being the Japanese cousin of our native hornbeam, developing into a stately pyramidal habit. The foliage comprises elegantly tapered leaves, up to 100mm in length, finely hairy when emergent and glossy in maturity, with a pleated surface and finely serrated edges opening with a distinct pink flush that fades to mid-green in summer and a flush of golden yellow in autumn. In spring and early summer Carpinus japonica bears prominent pendulous male catkins and subsequently clusters of densely overlapping toothed bracts which surround the obscure female flowers which in turn ripen to produce seeds - the overall effect closely resemble hops making the fruit an attractive and distinctive feature. As the tree matures the bark becomes both scaly and furrowed which is quite distinct from the common European hornbeam
Very robust and fully hardy, and tolerating almost all soil types Carpinus japonica is an easy to grow tree and a fine addition to any garden. Awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit (AGM). Final height will be in the region 6-8m in East Anglia although in the wild specimens of up to 12m are found.