Celtis occidentalis (common hackberry, American hackberry, raisin tree, sugarberry, northern blackberry, nettle tree, beaver wood)

description: deciduous tree

place of origin: eastern North America

urban habitat: commonly found along roadsides, at edges of streams and rivers, along stone walls, railroad tracks, oil fields; tolerant of dry, gravelly soils with low and high acidity in a variety of habitats; can grow in compacted soil in full sun or shade.

ecological function: disturbance-adapted, provides heat reduction in paved areas, erosion control, used as windbreak; food and habitat for wildlife.

history: Although not particularly common, Celtis occidentalis is currently found throughout the eastern and midwestern US and Canada and in parts of Australia. It is cultivated in other parts of the world. Native American tribes used the bark of the tree medicinally for treatment of colds, sore throat, jaundice, venereal disease, to regulate menstruation, and to induce abortion. Its fruit was consumed as food and used as spice and its wood burned as fuel ceremonially. Although weak, its wood is sometimes used to make fences and inexpensive furniture. A dye can be obtained from its roots.