Landowner Fact Sheets

hackberry Celtis occidentalis play

Hackberry is a small to medium-sized tree of the elm family with strikingly unusual bark that is usually found along rivers or on limestone soils. While animals are very familiar with the delicious fruit, most people have never sampled these tasty treats.

range map Click to see more images. fall color wood grain

Hackberry is rarely intentionally reproduced. Hackberry procuces stump sprouts and root suckers, making it very responsive to disturbance.

Hackberry can be found on a wide variety of soils, and even does well on dry, limestone outcrops.


A small to medium sized tree reaching up to 60 feet tall with a wide spreading crown.

Timber Value
Because of generally small tree sizes and yellow-gray wood, hackberry is not a preferred timber species. It is used in furniture, millwork, crates, and plywood.

Wildlife Value
The fruits have a large pit, but the flesh surrounding that pit is very edible and tastes like honey on whole-wheat toast.
Attracts deer, squirrels, rabbit, raccoons, many bird species

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Hackberry is an increasingly popular street tree because of its ability to survive very droughty conditions.

Latin Meaning
Celtis: Greek name or name applied to African lotus / occidentalis: western - Latin "occidere" (to set, as the sun)

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.