INDEX A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



Trees of Iowa: An Interactive Key

Hackberry
(Celtis occidentalis)


Leaves are alternate, simple, double-toothed with unequal leaf bases.


click on a county

Iowa County Poweshiek County Jasper County Polk County Dallas County Guthrie County Audubon County Marshall County Story County Boone County Greene County Carroll County Washington County Keokuk County Mahaska County Marion County Warren County Madison County Louisa County Muscatine County Adair County Shelby County Crawford County Tama County Benton County Linn County Des Moines County Henry County Jefferson County Wapello County Monroe County Lucas County Clarke County Union County Cass County Adams County Montgomery County Mills County East Pottawattamie County West Pottawattamie County Harrison County Monona County Cedar County Jones County Lee County Van Buren County Davis County Appanoose County Wayne County Decatur County Ringgold County Taylor County Page County Fremont County Scott County Clinton County Jackson County Dubuque County Delaware County Buchanan County Black Hawk County Grundy County Hardin County Hamilton County Webster County Calhoun County Sac County Ida County Woodbury County Clayton County Bremer County Fayette County Chickasaw County Butler County Franklin County Wright County Humboldt County Pocahontas County Buena Vista County Cherokee County Plymouth County Floyd County Cerro Gordo County Hancock County Palo Alto County Clay County O'Brien County Sioux County Allamakee County Winneshiek County Howard County Mitchell County Worth County Winnebago County Kossuth County Emmet County Dickinson County Osceola County Lyon County

Hackberry is one of our most common trees in Iowa. Hackberry is a member of the elm family, but is a different genus. The name hackberry originated from the Scottish "Hagberry" which in England was the common name bird cherry. 

Hardiness: zones 2 through 9

Growth Rate:
fast

Mature Shape:
cylindrical with drooping branches

Height:
40 to 60 feet

Width:
40 to 60 feet

Site Requirements:
Prefers rich, well drained soil but adapts to a range of soil types. Plant in full sun.

Flowering Dates: April - May

Seed Dispersal Dates: October - Winter

Seed Bearing Age:

Seed Bearing Frequency:

Seed Stratification: Prechill for 3 months at 34F to 40F

Hackberry is easy to identify because of its distinctive characteristics of strongly unequal leaf base and rough, warty bark. The leaves are alternate, simple, 2-5 inches long, with strongly unequal bases and a sharply tapering tip. The leaf margin is toothed except near the base, lustrous to dull green above, with a fine network of veins below.

Hackberry BarkHackberry Leaves

The twigs are slender, zigzag in appearance, light olive-brown in color with prominent lenticels. The pith of the twigs are usually chambered near the buds or nodes with small half-round leaf scars with usually three bundle scars. The terminal bud is absent; lateral buds are about 1/8 inch long, oval to triangular in shape, light brown in color, with 3-4 bud scales.

Hackberry TwigHackberry Fruit

The bark is light to dark gray in color; on young trees the warty outgrowths appear to be scattered randomly while on older trees the warty outgrowths develop into narrow corky projecting ridges. The fruit is a dark purple drupe about 1/3 inch in diameter which is used by several species of birds including flickers, cardinals, cedar waxwings, brown thrashers, and robins.. Hackberry has high wildlife value because the fruit persists into the late winter months. 

Hackberry FlowersHackberry Flowers

Hackberry is native throughout Iowa. Hackberry grows in a wide variety of sites from dry and droughty to moderately moist to wet lowland sites. It probably does best on the moist sites and its common associates include green ash, silver maple, cottonwood, boxelder on bottomland sites and elms, walnut, and sugar maple on upland sites. On good sites, hackberry grows moderately fast; on dry sites, the growth rate is somewhat slower. 

In Iowa, hackberry has two minor pest problems. Hackberry nipple gall, which are nipple-shaped outgrowths caused by a small insect are often unsightly but cause no damage to the tree. Hackberry also is susceptible to witches broom, a proliferation of small branches, also probably insect induced. Again, the damage to the tree in insignificant other than appearance of the tree. The witches brooms can be removed if desired. 

Hackberry is a excellent ornamental tree for both street and landscape use. It grows moderately fast under most site conditions and generally tolerates adverse urban sites well. Hackberry is a moderately large tree (50-70 feet tall) and because of its vase-shape and rounded crown provides excellent shade. Fall color is yellow-green to yellow-brown. 

The wood of hackberry is flexible, shock resistant and moderately strong, hard and heavy. It looks like elm but typically has a wider sapwood and distinctive yellow streaks. Its is used for pallets, furniture, and sporting goods.

 

Click on a thumbnail image below to view a larger picture.
Hackberry Bark Hackberry Flowers Hackberry Leaves Hackberry Bark Hackberry Flowers Hackberry Leaves Hackberry Bark Hackberry Flowers Hackberry Fruit Hackberry Leaves Hackberry Twigs