hackberry Ulmaceae Celtis
Leaf: Alternate, simple, ovate, 2 to 5 inches long, serrated margin, pinnately veined, with acuminate tip and an inequilateral base, three distinct veins originate from base, maybe hairy or scruffy, green above and paler and somewhat pubescent below.
Flower: Species is monoecious; very small (1/8 inch), light green, produced on stalks from new leaf axils. Each flower with a 4 or 5 lobed calyx, appearing in spring.
Fruit: Round drupe, 1/4 to 3/8 inch in diameter, turning orange-red to dark purple when ripe, flesh is thin and quite dry but edible and sweet, enclosing a large pit, maturing in early fall.
Twig: Slender, zigzag, light red-brown with numerous lighter lenticels; terminal bud is lacking, but a pseudoterminal bud is present. Lateral buds are small, tan, triangular, and appressed, pith is often chambered at the nodes.
Bark: Smooth and gray-brown when young, soon developing corky, individual "warts" which later develop into rough corky, irregular ridges.
Form: A small to medium sized tree reaching up to 60 feet tall with a wide spreading crown.
Looks like: sugarberry - American elm - winged elm - dwarf hackberry
Additional Range Information: Celtis occidentalis is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting hackberry.
More Information: Fall Color - Wood
External Links: USDAFS Silvics of North America - USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information - USDAFS Forest Products Lab
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson