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An adaptable tree sadly overlooked by gardeners, hornbeam is a slow-growing small tree with strong wood. In fall, the foliage turns shades of yellow, orange, and red; in winter, the fluted texture of the bark gives hornbeam one of its other common names: musclewood.
Hornbeam thrives in full sun or partial shade, and its small size makes it useful for growing in parking strips or other tight spaces. Native to areas of North America, it can be grown with a single trunk or a clump of smaller trunks; it develops a rounded shape.