The densely branchedEuropean Hornbeamis columnar when young and grows into its stately namesake shape as it ages, up to 80 feet tall where it is native in Europe and Central Asia.Carpinus betulushas a distinctive fluted gray bark and sharply-toothed dark green foliage that turns yellow-orange in autumn. Planted in groups, it works perfectly as a screen or windbreak and can work equally well as a formal hedge with hard pruning. It’s best pruned during the late summer to mid-winter period when significant bleeding can be avoided. In Europe, it is a popular tree for pleaching, a kind of large-scale topiary gardening where trees are grown together in a natural form of interwoven grafting. This became a common gardening practice in the medieval era when the tree was celebrated for its shade-producing qualities.
In fact, the hornbeam has been in cultivation for such a long time there is no noted date of introduction.