Scientific Name: Carpinus betulus (Betulaceae).
English Name: Hornbeam (Birch family).
French Name: Charme.
5 Key Characters:
- 3 lobed leafy bract cupped around green oval nut.
- downy twigs.
- leaves with jagged edges (sharply double-toothed), pleated on veins.
- large tree (up to 30m but usually smaller).
- smooth grey bark, trunk fluted.
Lookalikes: Beech Fagus sylvatica, which is much less common here and has smoother edged leaves and nuts enclosed in a woody cup.
Habitat: Woodlands and hedgerows, especially on sandy clay.
Flowering Period: April-May. Monoecious, with separate male and female catkins on the same tree.
Status: Locally common.
Photographed by Loire Valley Nature: