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SPECIES:  Ostrya virginiana


SPECIES: Ostrya virginiana
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Coladonato, Milo 1992. Ostrya virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : OSTVIR SYNONYMS : Ostrya virginiana var. laisa Fern. Ostrya virginiana var. virginiana [39,44] NRCS PLANT CODE : OSVI COMMON NAMES : hophornbeam American hophornbeam eastern hophornbeam ironwood TAXONOMY : The scientific name of hophornbeam is Ostrya virginiana (Mill.) K. Koch [21]. LIFE FORM : Tree FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Ostrya virginiana
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Hophornbeam is found from Prince Edward's Island to Nova Scotia west through Ontario and Manitoba, and south to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Its range includes all eastern states to northern Florida and eastern Texas. It also extends to the highlands of southern Mexico, and south to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras [6,27,42,44]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White - red - jack pine FRES11 Spruce - fir FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine FRES14 Oak - pine FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood FRES18 Maple - beech - birch FRES19 Aspen - birch FRES21 Ponderosa pine STATES : AL AR CT DE FL GA IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO NE NH NJ NY NC ND OH OK PA RI SC SD TN TX VT VA WV WI MB NB NS ON PE PQ MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K017 Black Hills pine forest K082 Mosaic of K074 and K100 K089 Black Belt K093 Great Lakes spruce - fir forest K095 Great Lakes pine forest K096 Northeastern spruce - fir forest K099 Maple - basswood forest K100 Oak - hickory forest K101 Elm - ash forest K102 Beech - maple forest K103 Mixed mesophytic forest K104 Appalachian oak forest K106 Northern hardwoods K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest K108 Northern hardwoods - spruce forest K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest K113 Southern floodplain forest SAF COVER TYPES : 16 Aspen 20 White pine - northern red oak - red maple 24 Hemlock - yellow birch 25 Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch 26 Sugar maple - basswood 27 Sugar maple 28 Black cherry - maple 33 Red spruce - balsam fir 42 Bur oak 52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak 55 Northern red oak 60 Beech - sugar maple 80 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine 82 Loblolly pine - hardwood 87 Sweet gum - yellow-poplar 91 Swamp chestnut oak - cherrybark oak 110 Black oak 237 Interior ponderosa pine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Hophornbeam most commonly occurs as a subordinate species in maple(Acer spp.)-beech (Fagus spp.) and maple-basswood (Tilia spp.) communities. It is not an indicator of any particular habitat type [5,11,37].


SPECIES: Ostrya virginiana
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : The wood of hophornbeam is strong, hard, heavy, and takes a fine polish. It is not harvested for timber because of its relatively small size and scattered distribution. The wood is used for posts, golf club handles, tool handles, mallets, and woodenware [18,44]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Throughout its range, hophornbeam is browsed by white-tailed deer only incidentally. White-tailed deer usually browse more desirable species when available [23,33]. Buds and catkins of hophornbeam are important winter food for ruffed grouse, and the nuts are a secondary food in the fall. The nuts are also a preferred food for sharp-tailed grouse and wild turkey, and is eaten to a lesser extent by northern bobwhite, red and gray squirrels, cottontails, ring-necked pheasant, purple finch, rosebreasted grosbeak, and downy woodpecker [23,34]. PALATABILITY : Hophornbeam browse is rated low in palatability to white-tailed deer [13,16]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : The calcium content of the foliage of hophornbeam is considered high. Concentrations frequently exceed 2 percent on the basis of ovendry leaf weight. Nitrogen concentrations range from moderate to high but concentrations of phosphorus and potassium are usually low [23]. COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Hophornbeam exhibits fast juvenile growth, indicating its potential to provide vegetative cover in areas that have been disturbed by overstory cutting. Great increases in hophornbeam have occurred after northern hardwood stands less than 40 years old were clearcut [23]. Propagation: The seed may be sown in either fall or spring. Seed can be planted immediately in the fall in mulched beds using straw or leaves. For spring sowing the seed may be stratified over winter in sand or peat at 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5.6 deg C). Seeds are usually planted 0.25 inch (0.6 cm) deep in well-drained loamy soil. Expected germination is 85 to 90 percent [44]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Eastern hophornbean has been cultivated as an ornamental in the eastern United States [44]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Hophornbeam is considered a weed species throughout most of its range. It is usually discriminated against in stands managed for timber. Silviculturally, more interest has been given to eradicating it. Tordon 101 and 2,4,5,T, applied by mist blowing, have been successful in killing hophornbeam [23,24]. Damaging agents: Hophornbeam is relatively free of insect and other disease problems. The species is not readily injured by cold temperatures until temperatures drop below 17 degrees Fahrenheit (8 deg C). It is sensitive to air pollutants. In the upper Ohio River valley it does not grow in areas with moderate levels of the oxides of sulfur, nitrogen, chlorine, and fluorine. The tough branches resist wind, snow, and ice damage [6,23].


SPECIES: Ostrya virginiana
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Hophornbeam is a small, slow-growing, shapely tree usually not more than 35 feet (11 m) tall and 12 inches (30 cm) in d.b.h. [8,10,17]. The tree develops a broad top (sometimes as much as 50 feet [15 m] across) of small, spreading branches [6,14]. The leaves are alternate with slender hairy stems. The twigs are tipped with slender, cylindrical buds. The pistillate flowers are in slender catkins. The hoplike fruit is 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 cm) long and borne on short, slender stems. The thin, gray bark forms narrow, platelike scales [34,36,44]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Seed production and dissemination: Hophornbeam can easily be propagated from seed [19,32]. The hoplike stobile begins to break up immediately after ripening, and the lightweight seeds are dispersed by wind and birds throughout the fall and early winter. Trees begin to produce fruit at age 25 [23,26,34]. Seedling development: Seeds usually germinate in the spring the year after they are shed. Germination is epigeal. Seeds require stratification to overcome a form of internal dormancy. Germination capacity is 27 to 65 percent [23]. Vegetative reproduction: Cut, burned, or injured trees commonly sprout from the stump. The proportion of stump sprouting increases with stump height [23,40]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Hophornbeam grows on a wide variety of sites but is most common on dry-mesic and mesic valley bottoms and lower slopes. Best development occurs on loamy soils in ravines, on lower slopes, and on well-drained floodplains of major rivers. The lowest slope that it occupies is determined by its intolerance to flooding [25,29,31]. Soil pH ranges from 4.2 to 7.6 in the northern half of its range and 4.6 to 5.6 in the southern half . Elevation ranges from 250 to 750 feet (75-230 m) in Quebec to 5,000 feet (1,520 m) in the southern Appalachians, but the species is most common at elevations ranging from 2,800 to 3,200 feet (850-980 m) [2,23,41]. Common tree associates include American elm (Ulmus americana), blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica), sassafras (Sassafras albidium), flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), hickories (Carya spp.), American holly (Ilex opaca), and American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana). Shrub associates include mountain maple (Acer spicatum), roundleaf dogwood (Cornus rugosa), witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), American elder (Sambucus canadensis), American yew (Taxus canadensis), hobblebush (Viburnum alnifolium), beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), southern bayberry (Myrica cerifera), and greenbriers (Smilax spp.) [33,38,45]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Obligate Climax Species Hophornbeam typically grows in climax forests in the northern parts of its range. It is classed as tolerant and will reproduce well under full shade. It is ranked high as a species climax potential [3,23]. In the Southeast, hophornbeam is associated with a later seral stage that follows the pioneer pine communities. It first appears in Peidmont pine stands after about 90 years and in the bottomland hardwoods after about 36 years [1,15,23]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : In the North, flowering occurs from mid-May to mid-June, and in the South from late March to mid-April. The fruits ripen by the end of August in the North and as late as October in the South [23,34].


SPECIES: Ostrya virginiana
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : After aboveground portions are killed by fire, hophornbeam can reestablish by sprouting from the root crowm [40]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/root sucker Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Ostrya virginiana
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Hophornbeam can be killed by severe fires. Areas burned severely enough to kill most of the overstory in oak (Quercus spp.) stands in Rhode Island contained no hophornbeam 50 years later [4]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Hophornbeam will sprout from the stump following fire. Following spring fires in New York, 62 percent of the top-killed stems sprouted, and in Minnesota, 100 percent of the top-killed stems sprouted [28,40]. The Research Paper by Bowles and others 2007 provides information on postfire responses of several plant species, including hophornbeam, that was not available when this species review was written. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Management practices that utilize periodic burning are highly effective in controlling and eventually eliminating hophornbeam [7,35]. The initial incidence of fire in the Big Woods of Minnesota converted the forest into a thicket of basswood and hophornbeam. Subsequent fires converted them to a bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) savanna [23].

References: Ostrya virginiana

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