Celtis laevigata

Celtis laevigata is a medium-sized tree native to North America. Common names include sugarberry, Southern hackberry, or in the southern U.S. sugar hackberry or just hackberry.

Celtis laevigata
Sugarberry Celtis laevigata 2009-04-05.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Cannabaceae
Genus: Celtis
C. laevigata
Binomial name
Celtis laevigata
Celtis laevigata range map 2.png
Natural range of Celtis laevigata
Celtis laevigata, Southeastern Louisiana.

Sugarberry is easily confused with common hackberry (C. occidentalis) where the range overlaps. Sugarberry has narrower leaves which are smoother above. The species can also be distinguished by habitat: where the ranges overlap, common hackberry occurs primarily in upland areas, whereas sugarberry occurs mainly in bottomland areas.

Sugarberry's range extends from the Eastern United States west to Texas and south to northeastern Mexico.[2] It is also found on the island of Bermuda.[3]


Sugarberry occurs primarily along streams and in moist soils on floodplains. Its sweetish fruit is eaten by birds and rodents,[4] helping to disperse the seeds.[5] The leaves are eaten by a number of insects, for example caterpillars of the Io moth (Automeris io).

[ Description of seeds needed to distinguich between hackberry and sugarberry]

Sugarberry's leaf litter contains allelopathic chemicals that inhibit seed germination and growth in many other plant species.[6]

Cultivation and usesEdit

Sugarberry mixed with hackberry supplies the lumber known as hackberry. Small amounts are used for dimension stock, veneer, and containers, but the main use of sugarberry wood is for furniture. The light-colored wood can be given a light- to medium-brown finish that in other woods must be achieved by bleaching.[7] The wood is also used to produce sporting goods and plywood.[8]

Sugarberry is frequently planted as a shade-tree within its range. It is well-adapted to urban areas; its elm-like shape and warty bark make it an attractive landscape tree.



  1. ^ Barstow, M. (2017). "Celtis laevigata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T61987968A61987970. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T61987968A61987970.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Celtis laevigata". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2010-04-24.
  3. ^ "Southern Hackberry (Celtis laevigata)". Bermuda's Species. Department of Conservation Services, Government of Bermuda. Archived from the original on 2010-03-05. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
  4. ^ Little, Elbert L. (1980). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region. New York: Knopf. p. 413. ISBN 0-394-50760-6.
  5. ^ Peattie, Donald Culross (1953). A Natural History of Western Trees. New York: Bonanza Books. pp. 465–66.
  6. ^ M.A.K. Lodhi, E.L. Rice. 1971. Allelopathic effects of Celtis laevigata. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. Vol. 98, No. 2, pg. 83-89.
  7. ^ Kennedy Jr., Harvey E. (1990). "Celtis laevigata". In Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H. (eds.). Hardwoods. Silvics of North America. Washington, D.C.: United States Forest Service (USFS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2 – via Southern Research Station (www.srs.fs.fed.us).
  8. ^ Florida Forest Trees: Sugarberry (Celtis laevigata) Archived June 26, 2008, at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit