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Celtis laevigata

Phonetic Spelling
SEL-tis lee-vih-GAY-tuh
Description

Sugarberry is a deciduous tree that may grow 70 to 80 feet tall. The leaves are alternate, exhibiting a smooth margin in old trees and singly toothed margin in juvenile trees. The bark is smooth between raised, corky warts. Very small (1/8-inch), greenish-white flowers mature in the spring. The tree produces a dull orange fruit which matures in 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.

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Seasons of Interest: 

     Bloom: Spring      Fruit/Seed/Nut: Fruit (drupe)

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Hackberry nipple gall is common and while it disfigures the leaves it does not hurt these trees. Powdery mildew and leaf spot may occur. 

 

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#butterflies#fruit#deciduous#birds#shade tree#wildlife plant#native tree#salt tolerant#host plant#street tree#playground#host#small mammals#food source#low flammability#NC native#buffer#children's garden#fire resistant#edible fruits#screening#Braham Arboretum#food source fall
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#butterflies#fruit#deciduous#birds#shade tree#wildlife plant#native tree#salt tolerant#host plant#street tree#playground#host#small mammals#food source#low flammability#NC native#buffer#children's garden#fire resistant#edible fruits#screening#Braham Arboretum#food source fall
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Celtis
    Species:
    laevigata
    Family:
    Cannabaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The Houma used a concentrate made from the bark to treat sore throats and decoction make from the bark ground up shells to treat venereal diseases, the berries were consumed by Native Americans, the Navajo boiled leaves and branches to make dark brown and red dye for wool
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & SE. U.S.A. to Mexico, Bermuda
    Distribution:
    MD west to KS northeast to Washington south through CA TX and FL
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    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.
    Play Value:
    Buffer
    Edible fruit
    Screening
    Shade
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Nesting
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Fire in landscape. Deer and witches' broom.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 70 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 8 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Orange
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    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.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Insignificant, mostly monoecious, greenish flowers appear in spring (April–May), with male flowers in clusters and female flowers solitary.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    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.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark is smooth between raised, corky warts.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Fire
    Salt
    Problems:
    Messy