Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 26 Celtis occidentalis

Common Names: hackberry, common hackberry, nettletree Family: Ulmaceae (elm Family)
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Hackberry can attain very large proportions, but usually grows 40-60 ft (12-18 m) in height and 1-2 ft (30-60 cm) in diameter. When grown in the open, it develops a short bole and a large rounded crown. It has simple, elm-like leaves and can be identified by its many corky warts and ridges of bark on the trunk. In late summer it produces fruit in the form of small purple drupes.


Celtis occidentalis is a native North American tree that is widely distributed in the east, the Great Plains, and sporadically in the south. Although hackberry is characteristically a tree of bottomland hardwood forests, it also occurs on limestone outcrops or limestone soils.


Light: Hackberry will grow in full sun to partial shade. Moisture: Hackberry likes a moist, but well drained soil. It is drought tolerant when it has to be. Hardiness: USDA Zones 2 - 9. Propagation: Seeds should be planted outside in autumn for spring germination.


Used principally as a shade and accent tree, hackberry is of secondary importance in the forest products trade in America. It makes a nice, subtle shade tree at the edge of the woodland garden. Rotary cut veneer stock has been offered to the trade under the name beaverwood.


This large, gracefully spreading relative of the elms makes an excellent shade tree. It produces fruit which is a source of food for many animals and birds, including wild turkeys, pheasant, quail, and grouse. Hackberry is drought tolerant and has survived extreme dry periods in the Great Plains, such as the Drought of 1934 in Kansas.

Steve Christman 07/05/06, 7/21/16

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Celtis species profiled on Floridata:

Celtis laevigata

( sugarberry, sugar hackberry, hackberry )

Celtis occidentalis

( hackberry, common hackberry, nettletree )

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