Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

Hackberry leaves and berriesHackberry treeHackberry (also known as Common Hackberry, Nettletree, Beaverwood, Northern Hackberry, and American Hackberry) trees have smooth, yellowish gray bark that often has corky warts or ridges (sometimes the bark may be silvery gray or light brown). The wood of the hackberry is yellowish.  The tree may reach 39 meters (130 feet) in height.  Hackberry trees have long-pointed leaves that grow in two rows. The leaves are asymmetrical and coarse textured and measure 2 1/2 inches long by 1-2 inches wide.  This tree bears small, round berries that can be eaten when they are ripe and fall from the tree. The berries turn orange-red to dark purple in the Autumn.  Greenish, downy flowers appear on the tree in the Spring soon after the leaves appear.

Where to Find: This plant is widespread in the United States, especially in and near ponds.  It prefers rich, moist soil but will grow on rocky hillsides too.

Edible Parts: Its berries are edible when they are ripe and fall from the tree.

Hackberry leaves

Close-up of Hackberry leaf

Hackberry leaf

Hackberry flowers

Hackberry flowers

Hackberry tree

Hackberry tree bark

Hackberry tree bark

Hackberry tree bark

Hackberry bark is unique

Hackberry berries on branch

Drawing of Hackberry tree illustrating its components

Drawing of Hackberry leaf and berries

Color plate showing Hackberry branch and leaves

Print Friendly, PDF & Email