(Celtis occidentalis)

Interesting Information About Plant: 

     The Hackberry Tree is a very rugged fast growing tree, it can withstand high salt, acid, sand, clay and alkali levels in soils, as well as survive extended flooding and drought. Because of this, Hackberry has done very well being planted and grown in urban areas where pollutants in the air and soil are relatively high. Mistletoe can kill Hackberry over a period of time because it is such a good colonizer. Also used for bonsai. Hackberry is native to North America and is susceptible to many diseases. However, these diseases are often only cosmetic. Hackberry is also not susceptible to the “Dutch Elm” disease, as most English Elms and other Elms are killed by it.

Common Name:           Hackberry

Scientific Name:           Celtis occidentalis

Family Name (Scientific and Common):   Elm family (Ulmaceae)

Continent of Origin: Native to North America

Most Distinguishing Morphological Features of This Plant: The most distinguishing feature of Hackberry is its relatively odd bark. The back is very bumpy and patchy. Some say it appears almost warty. By looking at the pictures you can see how the bark does not resemble normal bark.

Plant Growth Habit:     Large Tree

Height at Maturity:      More than 10 Feet

Life Span:    Perennial

Seasonal Habit:    Deciduous Perennial

Growth Habitat:    Full Sun / Part Sun

Manner of Culture:    Native Species 

Thorns on Younger Stem?   No

Cross Section of Younger Stem:      Roundish   

Stem (or Trunk) Diameter:     More Than The Diameter of a Coffee-Mug 

Produces Brownish Bark?   Yes  

Bark Peeling in Many Areas?    No

Characteristics of Mature (Brownish) Bark:    Bumpy / Patchy   

Type of Leaf:   Flat, Thin Leaf  

Length of Leaf (or Leaflet):   Between the Length of a Credit Card and a Writing-Pen  

Leaf Complexity:    Simple 

Shape of Leaf:    Simple 

Edge of Leaf?    Serrated

Leaf Arrangement:  Alternate 

Leaf has Petiole?  Yes 

Patterns of Main-Veins:  Pinnate 

Leaf Hairiness:      No Hairs

Color of Foliage in Summer:    Green 

Change in Color of Foliage in October:   Changes to Yellow   

Flowering Season:     Spring 

Flowers:    Tightly Clustered 

Type of Flower:     Colorful Flower

Color of Flower:     Green

Shape of Individual Flower:    Radially Symmetrical 

Size of Individual Flower:  Smaller than a Quarter  

Sexuality:     Male and Female Flowers on Separate Plants

Size of Fruit:    Smaller than a Quarter 

Fruit Fleshiness at Maturity?    Fleshy  

Shape of Fruit:    Spherical    

Color of Fruit at Maturity:      Red    

Fruit Desirable to Birds or Squirrels?      Yes   

Unique Morphological Features of Plant:  It’s Bark.

Is the Plant Poisonous:       None of Plant

Pesty Plant (weedy, hard to control)?    No

Common Name(s):  Common Hackberry “Prairie Pride”

Louisville Plants That Are Most Easily Confused With This One: Sugar Hackberry, English Elm, and most other Elms.


Page prepared by:

Jason Lally

November 2005



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