Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

hackberry leaves

Click on the images help you identify an Hackberry.



Height 40' to 75', diameter 10" to 36"; limbs often crooked and angular; tree head made up of slender, hanging branches or short, bristly, stubby twigs when growing in the forest; in the open, crown is generally symmetrical.


Grayish brown, much roughened with prominent, short, corky ridges.


Simple, alternate on stem, length 2" to 4"; has long narrow, tapering points and sharply toothed margins; uneven at base; prominent veins; hairy on upper side; turns yellow in autumn.

Fruit (seed)

Berrylike drupe, 1/4" to 1/3" in diameter; thin, purplish skin, sweet yellowish flesh; sometimes called sugar berry; ripens in September; frequently hangs on tree most of winter, providing an important food supply for several wildlife species.


Found sparingly in the southern part of the state and in the western part northward through the Red River Valley; naturally found in flood plains but will grow on various types of soil from the poorest to the richest; never found in pure forest stands; moderately shade tolerant, moderately fast growing.

Wood uses

Heavy, rather soft, weak, coarse-grained, fairly durable in contact with soil, light yellow or greenish-brown with narrow white sapwood; used in the manufacture of cheap furniture, fuel, and only occasionally for lumber. It is a good shade tree and is often used in ornamental plantings.

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