Blue Beech is a lovely small native understory/edge tree that is not well known, but deserves to be used more often in southern Minnesota landscapes. Characterized by smooth grey/blue bark that covers the undulating wavy trunk wood, an appearance developes that resembles the rippling muscles and sinews of a body builder’s forearm, earning this interesting native tree it’s other common name of Musclewood.
Botanically named Carpinus Caroliniana, Blue Beech occasionally can be found growing wild in remnants of the Big Woods deciduous forest dominated by Oak, Maple and Basswood. A native size of 20-30 feet tall by 20-30 feet wide, makes Blue Beech a good choice where a native tree of modest size is desired for a small area, perhaps to lend a mid-level architecture to a shade garden.
My favorite features of Blue Beech are the very pronounced veins that give the leaves outstanding texture, and the lovely ornamental seed heads that hang on the tree for several months with splayed petals similar to a fuschia. An outstanding mix of yellow/orange and red fall color is yet another reason to consider including Blue Beech in your landscape
Visit our Ornamental Tree Lists on our Plant Page for a listing of other trees we have available.