Celtis occidentalis

Common Hackberry




  • native to Quebec & southwest to Oklahoma
  • zone 3

Habit and Form

  • a large deciduous tree
  • cylindrical shape when mature
  • 40' to 60' tall and has an almost equal spread
  • branches tend to droop
  • fast growth rate
  • coarse texture

Summer Foliage

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • leaves are simple and are 3" to 5" long
  • oblique leaf base
  • serrate margins at leaf tip
  • medium green color, pale yellow-green leaf underside
  • leaves are glabrous on underside especially around veins
  • leaves have rough texture

Autumn Foliage

  • yellow fall color
  • not showy


  • blooms late April to early May
  • emerge with leaves
  • not ornamentally important


  • orangy-red fleshy fruit
  • drupe
  • ripen in September - October
  • edible, sweet date taste
  • not ornamentally important
  • flesh surround hard seed that can break teeth


  • grayish color
  • bark is corky and unattractive
  • stems have zigzag appearance
  • prominent lenticels on stems


  • easily transplant form B&B container or bare root
  • prefers rich soil
  • very soil adaptable
  • tolerant of most conditions
  • wind tolerant
  • full sun
  • urban tolerant

Landscape Use

  • good tree for poor conditions
  • park tree
  • screen
  • for edible fruit


  • leaf spot, powdery mildew, hackberry nipple gall, scale
  • witches' broom caused by insect
  • problems don't kill tree, but make tree very unattractive

ID Features

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • oblique leaf base
  • rough leaf
  • corky bark
  • small, imbricate lateral buds
  • terminal bud absent
  • zigzag stem pattern
  • serrated leaf tips
  • small, red drupe fruit


  • by budding
  • by seed


  • none of importance

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

The digital materials (images and text) available from the UConn Plant Database are protected by copyright. Public use via the Internet for non-profit and educational purposes is permitted. Use of the materials for profit is prohibited.

Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database, http://hort.uconn.edu/plants, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.