American Hophornbeam trees (Ostrya virginiana) are good medium-sized trees (30 feet) to plant as a shade tree. These native American shade trees grow from Canada to Florida (zone 3 -9) as a very cold hardy tree and are also called: Eastern Ironwood trees, because hophornbeam has such a dense, strong wood that is excellent to use in tool handles and fence posts. If you plant this tree near your home, your electric bill will be dramatically reduced in cost. The Eastern Hophornbeam is a slow growing tree, and is often planted as an ornamental shade tree or as a street tree in city parks, because hophornbeam is so resistant to drought. The compound leaves are 5 inches long but shorter usually, and the brown bark peels off the tree into large flat pieces. This deciduous shade tree produces small nuts that are pea-size and loved by birds.