Fastigiate Hornbeam

Carpinus betulus fatigiata

Also known as Pyrimidal Honbeam

This is the fastigiate (i.e. upward pointing branches) form of the common Hornbeam, already described earlier in this series of articles on the trees in Battersea Park. It is one of the easiest of trees to recognise, even from a distance, due to its classical ace of spades silhouette. This shape broadens with age as ours has done. The branches are very fine and evenly spaced, giving it fine winter tracery, not unlike a giant shaving brush.

It is a great favourite in London streets, due to its non-invasive shape. It does grow quickly, thirty feet in twenty years. The leaves are slightly brighter than the parent tree, turning gold and orange-brown in the autumn. Then it arrived from Europe in 1885, and due to its ability to survive aerial pollution and paving over its roots, has established itself as firm favourite.