**133/A-Tree Talk-Hornbeam.

Hornbeam-courtesy Wikipedia.

A little known tree although it is quite common in many parts of the Country & they are closely.  Epping Forest & many  other  woods north of London for example , very largely composed of Hornbeams.   Many people mistake the tree for an elm because of its leaves, or  for a beech because of its smooth grey bark, yet it can be very easily distinguished.  Its buds in winter are only about half the size of the beech & they are closely pressed to the twigs, whereas the beech buds stick out from the twig at a wide angle.  The main trunk , with its smooth grey bark is usually short, dividing into a large n umber of upward spreading branches.  Instead of being of irregular shape, often fluted. The flowers are of two kinds, both growing on the same tree.  The male flowers are in the form of pendulous yellow & green catkins, while the female flowers are like small green tassels.  The fruits are small  hard nuts, about the size of a pea to which are attached three-fingered green  bracts.  In the Autumn the leaves turn brown &,  as with the Oak & the Beech, the dead leaves often remain on young trees all through the winter.

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