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Celtis sinensis

Previously known as:

  • Celtis sinensis var. japonica
Phonetic Spelling
SEL-tis sy-NEN-sis
Description

Chinese Hackberry is a rapidly growing, flowering, deciduous tree in the hemp family reaching 40 to 50 feet high and wide at maturity with a round, spreading crown. In its native Asia, it can be found on the lowland and hills of Japan and the roadsides and slopes of China. These trees thrive in hot summers and sunlight; lack of sun can cause the wood to not fully ripen making them subject to die-back in winter. Under optimum conditions, Chinese Hackberry are very long-lived. The tree suckers, but it primarily naturalizes by seed dispersal. It can be invasive in some environments and has been declared a noxious weed in parts of South Africa and Australia. It is not considered invasive in the United States. The species name is Greek for Chinese.

While it tolerates partial shade and poor soil, it prefers to be grown in full sun in moist, well-drained soil that is high in organic material.  It will self-seed easily, or you can propagate it through stem cuttings.  This tough plant tolerates drought, wind, urban conditions, dry, wet, and poor soils. Its tolerance of most conditions make it a good choice as a street tree, however, It should be placed in a position in order to avoid contact from mowing equipment and string trimmers.  Damage from repeated contact from equipment can cause injury to the tree trunk, which in turn can lead to internal trunk rot.  Its tendency to form surface roots should also be kept under consideration when planting.  The roots can raise sidewalks, so keep at least a 10' distance from streets or sidewalks.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:  The dried fruits falling to the ground can be a litter problem.

Caution should be used when planting this tree when overhead power lines are in the area.  

Witches’ broom (dwarfed, dense, contorted twig clusters at the branch ends) is common in some areas.

It has a susceptibility to breakage.  Pruning should be done on a regular basis during the trees early years in order to prevent the formation of weak branch crotches and multiple trunks that would be susceptible to breakage as the tree ages.  

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Green Cascade'
Tags:
#deciduous#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#moths#winter interest#flowering tree#air pollution tolerant#disease resistant#wind tolerant#deer resistant#nighttime garden#edible fruits#self-seeding#pollinator plant#poor soils tolerant#larval host plant#deciduous tree#messy fruits#urban conditions tolerant#wet soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#winter garden#salt spray intolerant#question mark butterfly#hackberry emperor butterfly#edible#insect resistant#birds
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Green Cascade'
Tags:
#deciduous#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#moths#winter interest#flowering tree#air pollution tolerant#disease resistant#wind tolerant#deer resistant#nighttime garden#edible fruits#self-seeding#pollinator plant#poor soils tolerant#larval host plant#deciduous tree#messy fruits#urban conditions tolerant#wet soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#winter garden#salt spray intolerant#question mark butterfly#hackberry emperor butterfly#edible#insect resistant#birds
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Celtis
    Species:
    sinensis
    Family:
    Cannabaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Quite often used as a street tree. Its susceptibility to damage should be considered when planting.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    East Asia, China, Japan, and Korea
    Distribution:
    Australia
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds are attracted to the fruits. This plant supports Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis) and Question Mark Butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis) larvae. Questionmark butterflies have an interesting life cycles: overwintered adult Question Mark butterflies lay eggs from spring until the end of May. These will appear as summer adults from May-September, laying eggs that then develop into the winter adult form. The winter adults appear in late August and shelter for the winter starting the cycle all over again. Adult Question Mark butterflies feed on rotting fruit, tree sap, dung, and carrion only visiting flowers for feeding when absolutely necessary.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Edible fruit
    Shade
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Leaf galls
    Edibility:
    The fruits are edible.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Broad
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Thorns
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    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
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Female flowers are followed by globose drupes to 1/3 of an inch long) which have stalks about the same length as the leaf stalks. Immature fruits are green, but mature to orange before finally turning reddish-brown in fall. Each fruit contains a single seed.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Inconspicuous monoecious greenish flowers bloom from the leaf axils and stem bases from March to May.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Pointed, round-toothed green leaves (2 to 5 inches long) are dark and glossy above but paler and somewhat hairy beneath with rounded to obliquely truncate bases. Leaves turn yellow in fall. Like other hackberries, the leaves have three prominent veins. The bases are a little less uneven than native species. Leaf margins are serrate except toward the base.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Mature trees have smooth gray to gray-brown bark.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Diseases
    Drought
    Heat
    Insect Pests
    Poor Soil
    Wind
    Problems:
    Messy