Jan. 21, 2020

ironwood, Ostrya virginiana

Ironwood, or hop-hornbeam, is a medium sized tree with very hard wood. This hard resilient wood was prized for making longbows, particularly by the Lakota and Maliseet people. Here you see the male catkins. Catkins, also called aments, are a frequent pollination syndrome on tall plants where the job can be done well by the wind. Catkins usually appear before the leaves so wind can freely reach them. Catkin was derived from the Dutch word 'katteken', for kitten. In some species the catkins are fuzzy, as with pussy willow. Ironwood grows in AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY, MB, NB, NS, ON, PE, and QC. Ives Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 4/27/19. Birch family, Betulaceae.