Ironwood, or Hop Hornbeam, is a native understory tree to northern Illinois. It develops a pyramidal, rounded crown when mature. Medium-green leaves turn golden-yellow in the fall. Catkins flower in early spring. Cone-like fruits resemble hops, hence the other common name. Bark has a shaggy appearence. Ironwood is a very adaptable small tree, but prefers cool, moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soils. Use as a shade tree or street tree for any size yard.