American Hornbeam (Musclewood)
Carpinus caroliniana, 2-3 ft at sale, native to VT, sourced from Michigan.
This smaller tree, usually found in the understory or forest-edge, fascinated me as a child because its smooth bark is rippled like toned muscles. Along with serviceberry, it makes a beautiful addition to the edge of a forest or stream, or it can accent the shadier side of a building. The wood is extremely hard. It is closely related to birches. Birds enjoy eating the catkins (type of seed), but perhaps most exciting is that swallowtail butterflies, luna moths, and many others use musclewood as a host.