Musclewood Carpinus caroliniana
Family: Betulaceae (Birch)
Other names: Blue-beech, Ironwood
This small tree is very distinctive when mature. It's name comes
from the muscle-like ridges in the bark. Despite the wavy ridges,
its bark remains smooth even when mature, giving rise to its other
common name Blue-beech. When mature, there is little else it can
be mistaken for, but when young, it can resemble Ironwood very closely. Musclewood twigs tend to be darker and buds are pressed more closely to the twig.
The distinctive wavy ridges of Musclewood
Another view of the bark
Winter twig of Musclewood
Another view of the twig.
Musclewood winter twig, showing an enlarged flower bud
Ironwood (left) and Musclewood (right) twigs. Musclewood tends to be more reddish,
and its buds don't point away from the twig as much. Also, the buds usually have a few more
scales and more obvious whitish margins. But these characteristics are variable.
Musclewood fruit (slightly dilapidated)
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© 2008 Josh Sayers
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