Botanical Name : Celtis reticulata
Species: C. reticulata
Synonyms: Celtis reticulata. (Torr.)L.Benson.
Common Names: Netleaf hackberry, Western hackberry, Douglas hackberry, Netleaf sugar hackberry, Palo blanco, and Acibuche
Habitat : Celtis reticulata is native to South-western N. America – Kansas to Texas, Colorado and California. It grows on dry hills, often on limestone or basalt, ravine banks, rocky outcrops, and occasionally in sandy soils at elevations of 300 – 2300 metres.
Celtis reticulata is a deciduous Tree. It usually grows to a small-sized tree, twenty to thirty feet (6 to 10 m) in height and mature at six to ten inches (15 to 25 cm) in diameter, although some individuals are known up to 70 feet high. It is often scraggly, stunted or even a large bush. It grows at elevations from 500–1,700 metres (1,600–5,600 ft).
Hackberry bark is grey to brownish grey with the trunk bark forming vertical corky ridges that are checkered between the furrows. The young twigs are covered with very fine hairs (puberulent). The blade of the leaves can be half an inch to three inches (2-8 cm) long, usually about two inches (5-6 cm). They are lanceolate to ovate, unequal at the base, leathery, entire to serrate (tending toward serrate), clearly net-veined, base obtuse to more or less cordate, tip obtuse to acuminate, and scabrous, with a dark green upper surface and a yellowish-green lower surface. The small stalks attaching the leaf blade to the stem (the petioles) are generally about 5 to 6 mm long.
It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.
The flowers are very small averaging 1/12 of an inch (2 mm) across. They form singly, or in cymose clusters pedicel in fr 4-15 mm. Fruit is a rigid, brownish to purple berry, 5 to 12 mm in diameter, pulp thin.
C. reticulata is often confused with the related species Celtis pallida, the spiny hackberry or desert hackberry, Celtis occidentalis, the common hackberry, and Celtis laevigata, the sugarberry or southern hackberry.
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.
Succeeds in any reasonably good soil, preferring a good fertile well-drained loamy soil. Succeeds on dry gravels and on sandy soils. Established plants are very drought resistant. A moderate to slow-growing tree in the wild. It prefers hotter summers and more sunlight than are normally experienced in Britain, so it often does not fully ripen its wood when growing in this country and is then very subject to die-back in winter. Trees can be very long-lived, perhaps to 1000 years. Considered by some botanists to be no more than a sub-species of C. laevigata. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
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
The berries and seeds have long been used as a food source by Native Americans of the Southwestern United States, including the Apache (Chiricahua and Mescalero), both fresh and preserved.
Fruit – raw or cooked. Sweet and fleshy. The fruit can also be made into a jelly or used as a seasoning for savoury foods. It can be dried and stored for winter use. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter, it has a thin flesh with a single large seed.
Medicinal Uses : The plant has been used in the treatment of indigestion.
The leaves are eaten by a number of insects, particularly certain moth caterpillars.A brown or red dye can be obtained from the leaves and branches. Wood is heavy but soft and weak, it is not commercially important. It can be used as a firewood.
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.