Celtis occidentalis L.

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Common names:
common hackberry, hackberry
Growth form:
Medium-sized to large tree,
12 - 24 m tall, trunk diameter 25 - 40 cm.
rounded with many spreading, slender branches.
gray or light brown, thin, smooth, becoming warty, rough, and scaly with age.
slender, gray to reddish brown, slightly zigzag, sometimes hairy, shiny. Leaf scars crescent-shaped with one to three bundle scars.
light brown or gray, 3 - 6 mm long, slender, egg-shaped, pointed, finely hairy.
alternate, with short, hairy leafstalks. The blade is shiny green above, paler with hairy veins beneath, 5 - 14 cm long, half as wide, and broadly lance-shaped with an asymmetrical, rounded or tapering base and long-pointed tip. It is also coarsely toothed (except near the base), thin, and smooth or somewhat rough on one or both surfaces. The veins form a lacelike pattern. In autumn the leaves turn light yellow.
either male or female, borne on the same tree (monoecious) in drooping clusters or solitary, greenish yellow, inconspicuous, without petals.
fleshy, single-seeded (drupe), borne on drooping stalks, dark purple, 7 - 13 cm long, nearly round, smooth, becoming puckered and prune-like. Pit wrinkled.
Plant Glossary
Similar species:
Of the two Celtis species found in the Chicago Region, this one is much more common. Celtis tenuifolia differs by its smaller size; its smaller, lesser toothed, and short-tipped leaves; its 3 - 6 mm long fruit stalks; and its smaller, pinkish brown, smooth fruit. Also, the presence of hackberry nipple-gall and witches' broom is common on C. occidentalis. Note: Leaves may resemble those of Ulmus, but Celtis species have three main veins arising from the base of each blade.
mid-April to early May, after the leaves are partly grown
Habitat and ecology:
Frequent in moist woods, often in and along floodplains of streams.
Regional occurrence:
The wood of Celtis occidentalis is used for furniture, fence posts, boxes, and crates. It is easily transplanted and valued as a lawn and park tree. A type of "witches' broom," caused by mites and fungi, is often seen on twigs throughout the crown, and nipple-galls are common on the leaves.
Celtis is the Greek word for the hackberry tree (hackberry is actually a corruption of the Scottish name Hagberry, a species of cherry tree). Occidentalis means "of or from the West."
name code: CEOC ; page author: The Morton Arboretum ; page date: 2006-12-03
Further information (external links):
Google: Text Search Image Search
[ We can not vouch for content of other websites ]
Barnes, B. V., and W. H. Wagner, Jr. 2004. Michigan trees: A guide to the trees of the Great Lakes region. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
Dirr, M. A. 1998. Manual of woody landscape plants: Their identification, ornamental characteristics, culture, propagation and uses. 5th ed. Champaign, IL: Stipes Publishing.
Mohlenbrock, R. H. 1996. Forest trees of Illinois. 8th ed. Illinois: Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forest Resources.

Information provided on this page applies to the Chicago Region and may not be relevant or complete for other regions.