A medium sized tree. Shoots with grey pubescence at least until autumn. Leaves oblong-ovate, to 13 × 5 cm; base rounded; apex moderately long-acuminate; thinly but persistently downy under the main veins; lateral veins in 12–16 pairs; margin with very fine, regular, mucronate teeth; petiole pubescent, 2–9 mm. Fruit-bract broadly D-shaped, with a submarginal vein parallel to the untoothed straight side, with coarse teeth on the curved side; the lobe that clasps the nutlet at the base of the straight side is small or absent, and untoothed. (Clarke 1988; Grierson & Long 1983).
Distribution Bhutan India In the Himalaya, west to Kashmir Nepal
Habitat Warm-temperate mountain forests, to 2500 m asl.
USDA Hardiness Zone 10
RHS Hardiness Rating H2
Conservation status Data deficient (DD)
Although it was the second of the eastern taxa to be described, by John Lindley in 1831, this hornbeam (which has the westernmost distribution among these asiatic species) scarcely counts as a tree cultivated in the west. Two seedlings from the Wang Chu valley in western Bhutan were introduced to England in 1985 by Keith Rushforth (KR 997) (Rushforth 1985), but failed to survive the cold winters of this decade (K. Rushforth pers. comm.), and the species is not currently known to be in cultivation even within its native area (Shaw et al. 2014).
Carpinus faginea perhaps deserves another chance in today’s milder conditions. (In a rare error, the hornbeam described under C. faginea by Michael Dirr in the standard American Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (Dirr 2009) is the distantly related – but alphabetically adjacent – C. fangiana).