Carpinus betulus ‘Frans Fontaine’ – Frans Fontaine Hornbeam

Botanical Name: Carpinus betulus ‘Frans Fontaine’ 

Alternate Name: Frans Fontaine European Hornbeam

The Frans Fontaine Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus ‘Frans Fontaine’) is a small, easy-to-grow deciduous tree. It has an upright, open branching habit and a narrow oval form. It is native to Europe, specifically the Netherlands. This tree is narrower than the Columnar Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’), retaining its columnar form as it matures. It grows to a height of 35 feet and 9-12 feet wide.

The Frans Fontaine Hornbeam is perfect for fitting into smaller landscapes and the narrow spaces in between properties, providing a hedge or screening tree. It responds well to pruning when shaping as a hedge. This tree is suitable for planting when you want the European Hornbeam but don’t have space for a 60 foot tree! It looks outstanding when planting multiple trees in a row – lining a pathway or forming a hedge.

The leaves are an attractive, dark green color with serrated margins. In the fall, the foliage turns bright yellow and brightens up late fall days. The attractive bark is smooth and gray-green in color.

The Frans Fontaine Hornbeam produces both male and female catkins. The male flowers are drooping yellow catkins, and the female flowers are green catkins. The fruits are small nutlets, surrounded by a whorl of bracts that turn from green to brown as they mature.

No serious disease or insect problems. Some resistance to deer and drought conditions once established. Attractive to wildlife – birds and butterflies.


Height: 35 ft.
Width: 9-15 ft.
Shape: Oval, Pyramidal
Flower Color: Yellow (male), Green (female)
Flowering Time: April-May
Fall Color: Yellow
Features: Bright fall color, narrow
Exposure: Full Sun to Shade
Watering: Moderate & Regular
Soil: Prefers rich, moist, well-drained soil, but adaptable to most soil types
Growth Rate: Slow
USDA Zones: 4-8
Uses: Hedge, street tree, screen, park tree, wildlife garden
Similar Trees: Columnar Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’), JN Strain Musclewood American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana ‘JN Strain’), American Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)

Additional information


Oval, Pyramidal

Flower Color

Green, Yellow

Flowering Time

April, May

Fall Color


Growth Rate



Hedge, Park Tree, Screening, Street Tree, Wildlife Gardens

USDA Zones

4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Mature Height


Mature Width



Full Sun, Shade

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