Herb: Hornbeam

Latin name: Carpinus betulus

Family: Betulaceae (Birch Family)

Medicinal use of Hornbeam:

The leaves are haemostatic. They are used in external compresses to stop bleeding and heal wounds. A distilled water made from the leaves is an effective eye lotion. The leaves are harvested in August and dried for later use. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are "Tiredness", "Weariness" and "Mental and physical exhaustion".

Description of the plant:


25 m
(82 feet)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Woodlands and hedgerows on sandy or clay loams, preferring heavier soils.

Other uses of Hornbeam:

Plants can be grown as a medium to tall hedge, they retain their dead leaves throughout the winter if clipped at least once a year in late summer. They should not be clipped in spring since they will bleed profusely. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark. Wood - heavy, close grained, hard, very tough, very durable, not very durable according to another report. Used for flooring, cogs, tools, piano mechanisms etc. A good fuel.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown in an outdoors seedbed as soon as it is ripe. Germination is usually good, though it may take 18 months. If collected whilst still "green" (after the seed is ripe but before it has dried fully on the plant) and sown immediately it should germinate in the following spring. Grow the plants on for two years in the seedbed and then plant them out into their permanent positions in the winter. The average seed viability is around 65%. Pre-treat stored seed with 4 weeks warm and 12 weeks cold stratification and sow in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame until they are at least 15cm tall before planting them into their permanent positions.

Cultivation of Hornbeam:

Woodlands and hedgerows on sandy or clay loams, preferring heavier soils.

Known hazards of Carpinus betulus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.