A small understory tree, rarely reaching 30 feet. Characterized by a rounded crown, drooping or crooked branches and a muscle-like, fluted, twisted trunk. Known for spreading low and structured wider than tall. Part of the Birch Family, also known as Blue Beech, Musclewood, Water Beech and Ironwood. Squirrels and grouse use nutlets as a food source.


3-5” long, oval,  tapered point, double toothed along edges.


Bluish-gray, smooth. Twisted trunk gives bark a muscular appearance. Mature – can develop light vertical lines.


Slender, brown and angled with a tan, silky edge so buds look framed.


4 – 6” Hanging cluster of leafy bracts. Each 1” bract holds a nutlet. Bracts fall with nutlets and are carried by wind.


Species is unisexual – Yellow-green, male hanging 1”-2” long catkins, female yellow-green shaggy catkins ½ – ¾”long on new branch tips.