Celtis laevigata

Palo Blanco, Sugarberry, Common Hackberry; False Elm

About This Plant

Deciduous, with tattered, heavily veined leaves; easily identified by the corky projections on its bark. The fruit is a small stone with a sweet, date-like skin. With a fast, carefree growth habit, hackberry is omnipresent in shaded woodlands; when any opening appears overhead, it leaps up to take advantage of the sun. Hackberry is often derided as a “trash tree” but it’s among the most valuable trees for wildlife. It’s also one of the most common shade trees in San Antonio — especially around apartments, driveways, greenways and alleys (where it is constantly planted by birds.)

Origins: South-central and eastern U.S. to Mexico


Whether you’re trying to cultivate hackberry or not, expect some effort to weed it out of flowerbeds and fencelines. To grow it as a tree, make cuts only at a bud or branch; focus on minimizing damaged or rubbing limbs.

A fast source of easy shade and a terrific tree for wildlife, who plant it on every fenceline.

Min. Height: 30'

Max Height: 60 feet'

Min. Width: 40'

Max Width: 60 feet'

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