Musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana)

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This species is also sometimes called blue beech, or American hornbeam, but the species is part of the birch family (Betulaceae).  Musclewood is a small understory tree of deciduous or mixed forests, commonly found in cool moist rich soils, but sometimes also growing in drier sites or along the forest-edge.  It grows up to 8 metres high, with a short trunk and a low crown of wide-spreading branches with fine twigs in flat sprays.  Musclewood prefers deep rich moist soil and is very shade-tolerant.