Celtis laevigata

sugarberry, sugar hackberry, hackberry, texas sugarberry, palo blanco


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Attachment


Leaf Margin

entire, serrate

Leaf Type


Leaf Shape

oblong, lanceolate, ovate

Growth Form

shrub, tree

Flower Color

brown, green, white, yellow

Flower Month

February - May

Height (meters)

25.0 - 30.0

Milky Sap








Growing Season

Warm season

Leaf Retention


Wetland Class


Wetland Coefficient of Conservatism


Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism


Field Characters

A medium sized tree with smooth gray bark having corky warts. Its leaves have asymmetrical bases and partially toothed margin. Leaves are 3x longer than broad. It is usually found in poorly drained clay, silty clay or occasionally loamy flats but not in permanent swamps. It can be distinguished from C. occidentalis (a more northerly species) by leaves which are dark green above and yellowish-green below, usually serrated, and by having its style retained on young and mature fruit, while the leaves of C. occidentalis are yellowish green on both surfaces, with few teeth near the tip or none, and its style is not retained on the fruit. Can also be confused with planertree (Planera aquatica) which has similar leaves but bark that is is reddish brown and flaky, never warty.

Animal Use

The following information is for genus Celtis: Animals that eat its fruit: White-winged dove, Bobwhite quail, Gambel quail, Chestnut-bellied scaled quail, Wild turkey, Eastern bluebird, Cardinal, Catbird, Common crow, Fish crow, Yellow-shafted flicker, Mockingbird, Phoebe, Robin , Red-naped sapsucker (sap), Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Brown thrasher, Hermit thrush, Tufted titmouse, Towhee, Golden-fronted woodpecker, Beaver (wood), Ring-tailed cat, Opossum, Raccoon, Hog-nosed skunk, Striped skunk, Flying squirrel, Attwater's's wood rat. Animals that eat its twigs and foliage: White-tailed deer (Martin 1951)

Natural History

The Acadian French name for hackberry is "bois connu", or "known tree". It grows in sandy loam or alluvial soils along streams, and in moist woodlands, palm groves and thickets throughout Louisiana and east Texas. It ranges from Florida to Texas, north to Virginia, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. The fruit of all hackberries are edible and palatable (Medsger 1966).


Rich bottomlands, stream banks, flood plains, alluvial woods, in sandy loam, and thickets.

Plant Uses

The wood is not strong, and quite coarse-grained. It is used mostly for unexposed parts of furniture.