A slow-growing tree with a main trunk that splits, when more mature and side branches grow out widely so that the crown becomes more rounded. Eventually it can attain a width of more than 12 m. The short trunk is grey-brown, grooved and flakes off in small plates, being a real feature of the tree. The trunk becomes steadily darker in older trees. The leaves have a double serrated edge and turn yellow in autumn. Ostrya produces abundant flowers in the form of yellowish-green male catkins approximately 4 – 6 cm long and unremarkable female flowers in small ears. Once fertilised the latter turn into fruit resembling a hop.
This isn’t a very common tree and we spotted it when on a European buying trip growing in a field and we loved it so much that we found a number of them to bring back to Ire land where we have been growing them on since. Is this my favourite tree ? Definitely right up there