Introduced to North America from Europe, possibly during colonial times. Believed to have been dominant tree of English forests. Naturally distributed in England and Wales, and southern Scotland and most of western Europe except southern Spain, Italy, and Greece. Distinguishing Characteristics: Leaves simple alternate with glossy green upper surface and lighter green lower surface. Margins of leaf have double serrations. Base of leaf is assymetric to heart-shaped. Leaf length is approximately 4-7 mm. Creamy yellow flowers occur in June and July as pendulous inflorescences. Fruits are small round nutlets with a rough surface which hang in clusters from pale yellow bracts and persist into winter. Twigs form a zig-zag pattern and reddish, shiny, and ovoid winter buds can be seen. Tree shape is pyramidal to tear-drop. Major Uses: Often used as a shade or street tree due to its pyramidal shape and its ability to grow in a variety of soils. The flowers attract bees and so the tree is used by beekeepers. It is good for carving and making small articles such as models. The wood is relatively soft and does not warp once dried. The bark has strong fiber and it was once used to make rope. Sugar can be made from the sap and the flowers can be dried and made into tea. Information provided by Jon Tyson.