Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

posted in: Newspaper Articles | 0


Cold hardy to –40°F, USDA Zone 2. Large, native hardwood tree reaching a mature height of 100’ with an equal spread under ideal site conditions. Medium to fast growth rate, full sun to partial shade. Long lived, 200 year old trees common. Tough shade tree, drought tolerant, salt tolerant, urban pollution tolerant once established, well-suited for adverse urban conditions. Good choice for highway median planting, parking lot buffer strips, reclamation, windbreaks. Tolerates occasional flooding. Succeeds in a wide range of soils. Upright arching branches with a rounded spreading crown. Pruning is required several times during the early life of the tree to develop strong structure. Attractive cork-like bark adds winter interest. Transplants easily.


Edible fruit is a thin layer of pulp over a single large seed, orange-red to dark purple Hackberries hang on tree for several months providing food for birds, deer and small mammals. Native Americans ground the fruit and seed for use as a food source and medicinally for sore throats, colds. Provides nesting for numerous species of birds. Attracts butterflies. Light colored wood sometimes used in furniture making, crates and boxes. Historically used for barrel hoops and wood flooring. Native to central and northeastern North America, southern New England to the mid-west.