- Common Name(s):
- Southern Hackberry, Sugar Hackberry, Sugarberry
- Native Plants, Trees
The Celtis laevigata tree is a deciduous tree that may grow 70 to 80 feet tall. The leaves are alternate, exhibitng a smooth margin in old trees and singly toothed margin in juvenile trees. The bark is smooth between raised, corky warts. The Sugarberry tree has very small (1/8") greenish-white flowers that mature in the spring. The tree produces a dull orange fruit that matures in the fall and is sweet to the taste.
Trunk diameter ranges from 1-3’ (less frequently to 4’). The mature gray bark develops a warty texture.
Sugarberry has good resistance to witches’ broom (dwarfed, dense, contorted twig clusters at the branch ends).
This tree is moderately salt tolerant.
Regions: Piedmont, Coastal Plains
Seasons of Interest:
Bloom: Spring Fruit/Seed/Nut: Fruit (drupe)
Wildlife Value: The Sugarberry tree is a host plant for the American Snout, Mourning Cloak, Question Mark, Hackberry Emperor and Tawny Emperor butterflies. Many bird species and small mammals eat the fruit. This plant is resistant to damage by deer.
Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Hackberry nipple gall is so common in the St. Louis area that it is often used as an aid in identifying hackberries. Although the galls do not hurt these trees, they often significantly disfigure the leaves. Powdery mildew and leaf spot may occur. Watch for lacebugs and scale.
The seeds can pose clean up problems if trees are sited near sidewalks or patios, however.
- 60-80 ft.
- Insignificant, mostly monoecious, greenish flowers appear in spring (April–May), with male flowers in clusters and female flowers solitary. Female flowers give way to an often abundant fruit crop of round fleshy berry-like drupes maturing to deep purple. Each drupe has one round brown seed within. Fruits are attractive to a variety of wildlife. Birds consume the fruits and disperse the seeds. Fleshy parts of the fruit are edible and sweet.
- The Sugarberry tree is easily grown in medium to wet, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. It will tolerate part shade. It also tolerates wind, many urban pollutants and a wide range of soil conditions, including poor soils.
- Upright; rounded with spreading pendulous branches
- Sun, Part shade, shade
- Sweet edible fleshy drupes; deep purple
- 60-80 ft.
- Growth Rate:
- Moderate to rapid
- The leaves are ovate to oblong-lanceolate, rough-textured, untoothed, glossy to dull green leaves (2-4” long) have mostly uneven leaf bases. They have an undistinguished yellow fall color.
NCCES plant id: 1947