The germination characteristics of common hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), which shows a natural distribution in Turkey, were analysed. Seeds were obtained from 12 populations at different altitudes in the river basins of Trabzon-Macka, Trabzon-Caykara, Rize-Camlihemsin in and Giresun-Espiye. In common hornbeam seeds, there is a germination barrier caused by the seed coat and embryo. In order to eliminate the germination barrier and increase germination, 22 different pre-treatments, including control different concentrations of GA(3), citric and sulphuric acids, and different stratification periods were performed before seed germination was tested. Analysis of the effect of different seed collection times and pre-treatments on the germination percentage revealed differences according to population and altitude. The pre-treatments also showed differences on the basis of populations. The highest germination took place following GA(3) pre-treatments (30%) and in seeds collected in mid-September (54%).