Go Back Beech Blue

Carpinus caroliniana Blue Beech

Plant Type: Deciduous Trees

Blue beech (Carpinus caroliniana), also called musclewood or American hornbeam, is a small, slow-growing tree, native to Minnesota and the eastern U.S.

In Minnesota, it is found in the understory in forests of maple, basswood, oak, cherry and white birch.

In landscapes, it works well as a small shade tree and in shady, naturalized woodlands.

One of the few landscape trees that does well in full shade, beech adapts to a wide range of soil textures, moisture levels, drainage patterns and pH levels.

Blue beech can be grown as a large shrub, a single-stemmed tree or a multi-stemmed tree.

The attractive smooth bluish-gray bark on this tree provides multiple seasons of interest. The fluted “muscle-like” wood on the branches and trunk is another striking feature of this plant.

Seeds, buds, twigs and leaves are food sources for songbirds and small wildlife.


Growing & Maintenance Tips:

Flower Color

Foliage Color

Green to redorang in the fall

Plant Spread


Good Companions

Plant Height


Scape Height

Hardness Zone


Soil Moisture

Characteristics & Attributes


Blue-gray bark.

Bloom Time

Critter Resistance


full to part sun

Growth Rate


Seasonal Interests