Celtis occidentalis (Hackberry)
|Also known as:||Northern Hackberry, Common Hackberry|
|Life cycle:||perennial woody|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; average to moist soil; hardwood forest, floodplains, river banks,|
|Bloom season:||April - May|
|Plant height:||40 to 60 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FAC NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Male and female flowers are borne separately on the same tree (monoecious), though sometimes perfect flowers (both male and female parts) are also present. Flowers are greenish to yellowish, ¼ inch across, lack petals but have 4 to 6 spreading sepals. Male flowers are in clusters near the base of new branchlets and have 4 to 6 green to brown stamens.
Female flowers arise singly or in pairs from the leaf axils at the tip end of the same branchlet as the males, have a 2-parted, densely fuzzy style atop a green ovary. Perfect flowers have both styles and stamens. Stalks are hairy or smooth, up 3/8 inch long at flowering time, elongating to ¾ inch in fruit.
Leaves and bark:
Leaves are simple, alternate, somewhat variable, 2 to 5 inches long, to 3 inches wide, mostly widest near the base, serrated around the edges nearly to the base, tapering to a sharply pointed tip. The base is asymmetrical, rounded to heart-shaped with 2 prominent lateral veins radiating with the midvein from the point where the stalk joins the blade. The upper surface is smooth to rough textured, the lower hairy along major veins. Stalks are smooth or hairy.
New twigs are hairy or smooth, green turning reddish to brownish gray with scattered pale lenticels (pores), smooth or hairy the second year and eventually becoming hairless. The terminal buds are typically strongly angled to one side.
Bark becomes deeply furrowed with corky ridges, older bark on mature trees is gray with thick scales. Crowns are generally round, about as broad as tall. Trunks can reach 3 feet diameter at breast height (dbh).
Hackberry is a common tree of deciduous woods and floodplains and is becoming more common in urban landscapes, tolerating drought and a variety of soil conditions. The fruits are a favorite of Cedar Waxwings and other birds. Hackberry is easily recognized by the corky bark, the sharply angled terminal bud on dormant twigs, and leaves with asymmetrical bases that have 3 prominent veins radiating from the base of the blade. Hackberry nipple galls are also quite common.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken Anoka, Douglas, Polk, Ramsey and Wabasha counties.
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