Botanical Name: Celtis laevigata
Synonyms :Celtis integrifolia, Celtis mississippiensis.
Habitat : Celtis laevigata is native to South-eastern N. America – Virginia to Illinois and Missouri, south to Florida and Texas. It grows in rich bottomlands along streams, in flood plains, and on rocky slopes, generally in clay soils, from sea level to 300 metres.
Celtis laevigata is a deciduous Tree growing to 18 m (59ft 1in) at a medium rate.It also spreads 60.00 to 80.00 feet. The tree is short lived, probably not living more than 150 years. The tree is broad, rounded, open crown of spreading or slightly drooping branches, looking graceful. The deciduous leaves up to 4 inches long, blades ovate to narrower with a long, tapering tip, usually with smooth margins and an unequal base which is tapered on one side of the midrib and rounded on the other. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in October. Fruit spherical, 1/4 inch in diameter and usually dull red.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.
Landscape Uses:Erosion control, Pest tolerant, Aggressive surface roots possible, Street tree, Woodland garden. Succeeds in any reasonably good soil, preferring a good fertile well-drained loamy soil. Succeeds on dry gravels and on sandy soils. Plants are usually found on clay soils in the wild. Established plants are very drought resistant. Trees prefer hotter summers and more sunlight than are normally experienced in Britain, they often do not fully ripen their wood when growing in this country and they are then very subject to die-back in winter. A very variable species, according to some botanists these merit varietal status whilst other botanists say that the differences are too slight. Trees are moderate to fast-growing, probably living no more than 125 – 150 years. They can be very long-lived according to another report, perhaps surviving for 1000 years. Trees fruit heavily most years. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Special Features:North American native, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant, Attracts butterflies, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed is best given 2 – 3 months cold stratification and then sown February/March in a greenhouse. Germination rates are usually good, though the stored seed might take 12 months or more to germinate. The seed can be stored for up to 5 years. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. The leaves of seedlings often have a lot of white patches without chlorophyll, this is normal and older plants produce normal green leaves. Grow the seedlings on in a cold frame for their first winter, and plant them out in the following late spring or early summer. Give them some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings
Edible Uses: ..Fruit – raw or cooked. The flesh is thin, dry and sweetish, covering a single large seed. The fruit, which is orange to brown or red when fully ripe, is 5 – 8mm in diameter.
Medicinal Uses:..…A decoction of the bark has been used in the treatment of sore throats. It has also been used, mixed with powdered shells, as a treatment for VD.
Other Uses : …Wood – soft, not strong, close grained. It weighs 49lb per cubic foot and is used for cheap furniture, fencing and for fuel.
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