Botanical Name : Celtis occidentalis
Common Names:Hackberry, Common hackberry, Nettletree, Sugarberry, Beaverwood, Northern hackberry, and American hackberry
Habitat : Celtis occidentalis is native to Eastern N. America – Quebec to Manitoba, North Carolina, Missouri and Oklahoma It grows in dry to moist and rich woods, river banks, rocky barrens etc. Frequently found on limestone soils.
Celtis occidentalis is a deciduous tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a fast rate.The bark is light brown or silvery gray, broken on the surface into thick appressed scales and sometimes roughened with excrescenses; pattern is very distinctive.
The branchlets are slender, light green at first, finally red brown, at length become dark brown tinged with red. The winter buds are axillary, ovate, acute, somewhat flattened, one-fourth of an inch long, light brown. Scales enlarge with the growing shoot, the innermost becoming stipules. No terminal bud is formed. The leaves are alternately arranged on stems, ovate to ovate-lanceolate, more or less falcate, two and a half to four inches (102 mm) long, one to two inches wide, very oblique at the base, serrate, except at the base which is mostly entire, acute. Three-nerved, midrib and primary veins prominent. They come out of the bud conduplicate with slightly involute margins, pale yellow green, downy; when full grown are thin, bright green, rough above, paler green beneath. In autumn they turn to a light yellow. Petioles slender, slightly grooved, hairy. Stipules varying in form, caducous.
It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) 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. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
The flowers appear in May, soon after the leaves. Polygamo-monœ cious, greenish. Of three kinds—staminate, pistillate, perfect; born on slender drooping pedicels. The calyx is light yellow green, five-lobed, divided nearly to the base; lobes linear, acute, more or less cut at the apex, often tipped with hairs, imbricate in bud.
There are five stamens, which are hypogynous; the filaments are white, smooth, slightly flattened and gradually narrowed from base to apex; in the bud incurved, bringing the anthers face to face, as flower opens they abruptly straighten; anthers extrorse, oblong, two-celled; cells opening longitudinally.
Pistil: ovary superior, one-celled; style two-lobed; ovules solitary.
Fruit: Fleshy drupe, oblong, one-half to three-fourths of an inch long, tipped with remnants of style, dark purple. Borne on a slender stem; ripens in September and October. Remains on branches during winter.
Landscape Uses:Firewood, 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. Tolerates alkaline soils. Established plants are very drought resistant. Wind resistant. Trees transplant easily. 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. Plants in the wild are very variable in size, ranging from small shrubs to large trees. They are fast-growing, and can be very long-lived, perhaps to 1000 years. Only to 200 years according to another report. They usually produce good crops of fruit annually. Trees respond well to coppicing, readily sending up suckers after cutting or the top being killed off in a fire. 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.
Fruit – raw. Very sweet and pleasant tasting, they can be eaten out of hand or can be used for making jellies, preserves etc. The fruit is often produced abundantly in Britain, it is about the size of a blackcurrant, but there is very little flesh surrounding a large seed and it is therefore a very fiddly crop. The fruit is dark orange to purple- or blue-black when fully ripe, usually about 7-11mm in diameter, though occasionally up to 20mm. The flesh is dry and mealy but with a pleasant sweet taste. Seed. No more details. The fruit and seed can be ground up finely together and used as a flavouring. The N. American Indians ate them with parched corn.
An extract obtained from the wood has been used in the treatment of jaundice. A decoction of the bark has been used in the treatment of sore throats. When combined with powdered shells it has been used to treat VD.
A dye is obtained from the roots. No more details are given. Fairly wind-tolerant, it can be planted as part of a shelterbelt. Wood – rather soft, weak, coarse-grained, heavy. It weighs 45lb per cubic foot and is sometimes used commercially for cheap furniture, veneer, fencing fuel etc.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.