A small tree to about 20 ft high in the wild state; young shoots slightly hairy. Leaves 11⁄4 to 2 in. long, ovate to broad-ovate, pointed, usually rounded at the base; margins double-toothed; dark green and soon becoming glabrous above, downy on the midribs and the veins beneath; stalk 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. long, downy; stipules narrowly linear, persistent during the winter. Fruit clusters 1 to 2 in. long; bracts ovate, unequal-sided, one side being sharply toothed, the other toothed only at the apex and with a small lobe at the base. Nut ovate, resin-dotted.
A native of N. China, where it is common in open woodland and scrub, and also of Japan; discovered by Turczaninow in 1831 but described from specimens collected ten years later by Kirilov. Farrer introduced it from Kansu in 1914 and trees from his seed are in cultivation at Highdown, Sussex, and at Kew. It makes a small, neat, bushy tree and colours rich brown and orange in the autumn. Mrs Farrer had at Ingleborough a shrubby pendulous form raised from the original seed; this is illustrated in The New Flora and Sylva, Vol. 3, fig. 99 (1931).
var. ovalifolia Winkler C. polyneura Burk., in part, not Franch. – A tree to 30 ft high in the wild state. Leaves ovate to ovate-oblong, sharply but only occasionally double-toothed. Bracts of fruiting catkins not lobed at the base. A native of W. China, introduced to Kew by Henry in 1889 from E. Szechwan. A tree from this seed now measures 38 × 13⁄4 ft (1967). It was originally thought to be C. polyneura Franch.
From the Supplement (Vol. V)
specimens: Kew, Broad Walk, pl. 1912, 28 × 21⁄4 ft (1981); Burford House, Dorking, var. ovalifolia, 40 × 31⁄2 ft (1984); Highdown, Sussex, 38 × 51⁄2 ft and another, pl. 1937, 33 × 31⁄2 ft (1983); Westonbirt, Glos., Morley Drive, var. ovalifolia, pl. 1923, 33 × 3 ft (1981).
Winkler and other students of the genus have remarked on the similarity of the involucral bracts of this species to those of C. orientalis, in that they are not markedly asymmetric and usually lack basal lobes. However, in C. turczaninowii the narrower side is normally less toothed than the other, and may have a lobe or infolding at the base.
† C. coreana Nakai C. turczaninowii sens. Winkler, in part, not Hance; C. paxiana sens. Nakai, not Winkler – Now in cultivation, this is near to C. turczaninowii, but with broader leaves. Native of south-west Korea; figured in Nakai's Flora Sylvatica Koreana, Vol. 1, t. 17 (as C. paxiana).
From New Trees
Carpinus turczaninowii Hance
This species was described by Bean (B510, S145) and Krüssmann (K282).
Carpinus turczaninowii var. coreana (Nakai) W. Lee
Syn. C. coreana Nakai
Large shrub or small tree to 7 m, dbh 0.5 m; crown densely branched. Bark smooth, pale brown or grey; branches pendulous. Branchlets reddish brown and pubescent with scattered lenticels. Leaves deciduous, 2–5 × 1.5–4 cm, ovate to elliptic, glossy green, lower surface with pubescence on the veins, (7–)10–12 secondary veins on each side of the midvein, apex bluntly acute. Pistillate inflorescences catkin-like, solitary and pedunculate, oblong to cylindrical, 2–7 × 1–3 cm long, glabrous. Flowers inconspicuous; bracts densely imbricate, elliptic, papery, 1.2–1.6 cm long, with four to six veins from base, margins double-serrated. Fruit a nutlet with longitudinal ribs. Fruiting July (Korea). Nakai 1926, Rushforth 1985. Distribution NORTH KOREA; SOUTH KOREA. Habitat Woodland and scrub on slopes and steep rock faces, between 0 and 90 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 7–8. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration NT211.
Many specimens of Carpinus turczaninowii var. coreana (usually labelled C. coreana) are rather dumpy, low-mounding trees, much broader than wide: a garden designer could have fun using them to suggest a stand of mushrooms. A good example of this habit is to be seen on a tree of 2.3 m height but 4 m wide growing near the Waterlily House at Kew, from a Chollipo Arboretum collection originating on Taebangi Island, Korea, received in 1981. The oldest specimen at Kew dates from 1979; collected on Mount Jiri, Korea, by Kwanak Arboretum, this one is similarly shaped though slightly less tidy. At the Scott Arboretum there is a specimen of 2 m height but 6 m diameter. Such trees tend to have a short length of clear trunk and then a mass of heavy radiating branches. The first recorded introduction was made by Sir Harold Hillier and Carl Miller (M&H 35) in 1976, of which one specimen survives at the Hillier Gardens (A. Coombes, pers. comm. 2008).
A totally different habit is seen in other specimens, and although these have many shared characteristics with the dumpier trees, including dainty, glossy leaves and foliose bracts, they have an altogether more upright posture and make the link with C. tur czaninowii more apparent. A group of such trees at the Morris Arboretum is attractive, despite growing in compacted ground (A. Aiello, pers. comm. 2006), and these individuals are now 6 m tall with a somewhat pendulous shape. They turn a good yellow in autumn (A. Aiello, pers. comm. 2006). These trees were grown from a collection made by the American expedition to northwestern Korea in 1984 (NW KNW 340), on Taechong Island, where the parents were 5–7 m tall. A similar taller specimen at Kew is labelled C. coreana var. major, although no such epithet has been published. It was collected as seed by the Kirkham, Flanagan and Boyce Expedition to Korea (KFBX 123) in 1989, from parents 8 m tall growing at an altitude of 8 m asl on Namhae Island. This plant is currently 4 m tall by 5 m broad, but has an open centre (unlike the dense centres of the rounded form), and has been described by Tony Kirkham as ‘a scruffy, shrubby tree with an untidy habit’ (Flanagan & Kirkham 2005).
Carpinus turczaninowii var. ovalifolia H. Winkl.
This variety is not listed by IPNI or by the World Checklist of Fagales (Govaerts & Frodin 1998). However, the name is used both by Bean (1976a: B510) and by Rushforth (1985) for a taxon from western China, and there is a tree at Kew thus labelled. Now rather gaunt, but with attractive grey bark, it was collected by Wilson (Wilson 4105) from the Min River valley, in 1910. Rushforth’s description of var. ovalifolia does not readily distinguish it from typical C. turczaninowii, nor from var. stipulata (H. Winkl.) H. Winkl. (= C. stipulata H. Winkl. in Flora of China), and the two varieties are probably best placed in synonymy.