• Central Park Conservancy Logo

Common Hackberry

Common Hackberry Tree
The common hackberry has a plethora of nicknames, including "nettle tree," "sugarberry," and "beaverwood." It is a tall native tree related to the elm, and it produces berries that are eaten by many birds. It is a tough and versatile tree that can withstand severe storms, inundation, hard pruning, and thrives in almost any condition of light and moisture. The hackberry was planted early in the Park’s creation and a few trees that may date from this time can still be found in the Ramble, along with their descendants.

Common Name: Common Hackberry

Scientific Name: Celtis occidentalis

Origin: Quebec and southwest to Oklahoma

Family: Ulmaceae

Size: 40 - 60' tall

Form: Branches tend to droop, fast growth rate, cylindrical shape

Culture: Easily transplanted from containers or bare root, prefers rich soil although very adaptable, tolerant of most conditions including wind, urban tolerant, thrives in full sun


3 - 5" long, alternate arrangement, oblique leaf base, saw-like edges at leaf tip


No ornamental value; bloom late April to early May


Orange-red fleshy drupe, ripe September-October, edible


Grayish, corky and unattractive, stems have zigzag appearance, prominent raised pores for gas exchange on stems