The hornbeam tree is native to Europe and Asia Minor, including southern Britain. It is superficially like beech but is more tolerant of frost and poor ground. The wood is white, hard and heavy, but not flexible. It has few modern uses but it was formerly much sought after, not least for fuel because of its high calorific value. As a tree hornbeam is still highly valued. It will grow on stiff clays, thin gravels and lime rich soils. Ancient stems and pollards are still retained, managed and cherished for amenity. Ornamental hedges, mazes and pleached avenues are increasingly being reinstated.
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