Native to the south-east of England, hornbeam is not widely distributed though it can be grown throughout Britain.
Sharply toothed dark green leaves turn yellow and orange in autumn. Vivid green catkins appear in spring through summer. In late September clusters of winged nuts appear.
An exceptionally hard wood, hornbeam had few tradtional uses other than when its durability proved necessary – such as for cartwheels or the cog mechanisms of windmills and watermills. Many of the ancient hornbeams that remain have been pollarded.