Scientific Name: Carpinus caroliniana
Common Name: Ironwood, American hornbeam, blue-beech, musclewood
Plant Family: Betulaceae (Birch family)
Etymology: Carpinus derives from “carpentum” a Roman horse-drawn vehicle with hard-wood wheels. Caroliniana refers to its native region in central North America.
Parts Used: leaves, nutlets, wood
The astringent leaves and inner bark had medicinal uses, including as an ingredient in tea for flux, a drink for navel yellowness, and a drink for cloudy urine. As a craft product, the wood was used for the main supporting posts for the ridgepole of the wigwam or tent.
Survival instructors describe using the cooked nutlets for food, though it’s unclear to what extent it was traditionally used by humans since documentation is sparse.
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