Common Hackberry Tree (Celtis occidentalis) FAQs

The Hackberry tree is part of the Celtic Druid horoscope (February 9-18 or August 14-23) and, therefore, has a magical heritage. However, early North American settlers referred to it as Hagberry, probably mixing it up with a Scottish tree of similar appearance.

Dutchmaster Nurseries has different varieties of Hackberry trees in our catalogue for those who want to offer their clients a bit of magic to spruce up their properties.

Is the Common Hackberry a Good Tree?

The common Hackberry tree grows throughout Ontario and is similar in appearance to Elm trees. This fast-growing hardwood typically has a vase or round shape and provides copious shade for homes and businesses. However, this resilient tree grows best in woodland parks and other natural areas.[1]  Hackberry makes for a good tree in cities and streetscapes because of its drought and salt tolerance. It fairs better than most other trees in those conditions.

What Is the Common Hackberry Used For?

People use the Common Hackberry to make boxes and crates, furniture, plywood, and athletic goods. Dutchmaster Nurseries is a wholesale landscaping supplier, and we recommend adding the Common Hackberry to your inventory. Customers can use the tree to attract pheasants, quail, cedar waxwings, woodpeckers, and other species that love to munch on the tree’s fruit.

Is the Common Hackberry Poisonous?

Hackberries are safe to eat. In fact, people have consumed these highly nutritious berries for thousands of years. They are among the first fruit stored by people for later use. Generally, the fruit of the Common Hackberry tree is tasty, crunchy, and sweet.

What Other Animals Eat from Hackberry Trees?

The Hackberry tree is also an important food source for a multitude of other animals. In fact, animals as diverse as bears, turkeys, mice and raccoons feed on the tree’s fruit and fallen drupes. Today, it’s rarely used as a food source for people.

Why Is It Called Hackberry?

Legend has it that early Scottish settlers to the new world called the tree Hackberry. Presumably, this was a case of mistaken identity. The Common Hackberry tree resembles a type of Wild Cherry tree in Scotland that goes by that name. However, the name stuck, and we still use it today.

Other names for this tree include:

  • Nettle tree
  • Beaver wood
  • Sugarberry tree

Contact Dutchmaster Nurseries to order Hackberry trees for your commercial nursery. We also invite you to peruse our blog, which is jam-packed with actionable information on tree selection and planting in Ontario.

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