Image for Ironwood


Scientific name

Ostrya virginiana


Ironwood is a deciduous tree species that grows between 7 and 12 m tall and has a wide spreading crown. This species may also be known by the common names Eastern Hop-hornbeam, American Hop-hornbeam, leverwood, deerwood, or rough-barked Ironwood. Ironwood leaves are alternate, 6-13 cm long, dark yellowish-green, and sharply toothed. Flowers appear in early spring on elongated catkins that are 5-8 mm long. Ironwood bark is light brown and peels off in narrow strips. Ironwood twigs are an important browse species for white-tailed deer and the seed, buds, and catkins are consumed by small mammals and songbirds.

Planting conditions

Ironwood is a very tolerant species and will grow in dry to moist conditions, but prefers well-drained and slightly acidic soils. Ironwood is adapted to a wide range of soil conditions, including sand, loam, or gravelly soil. However, it is intolerant to flooding. It prefers shade or partial shade conditions, but will also grow in full sun as long as adequate moisture is provided to prevent leaf scorch. Ironwood can naturally be found growing in woodland and forests, rocky slopes, and fields.


  • Plant height:
    • Any
    • Over 3m
  • Moisture level:
    • Dry
    • Normal
    • Moist
  • Light conditions:
    • Partial sun
    • Shade
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
    • Rocky
  • pH:
    • Acidic
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
    • Bareroot
  • Plant type:
    • Tree
  • Height:
    • 12 m
  • Spread:
    • 10m