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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordoo: Rosales

Familia: Cannabaceae
Genus: Celtis

C. africana – C. aurantiaca – C. australis – C. biondii – C. brasiliensis – C. bungeana – C. caucasica – C. cerasifera – C. choseniana – C. conferta – C. ehrenbergiana – C. glycycarpa – C. gomphophylla – C. iguanaea – C. jessoensis – C. julianae – C. koraiensis – C. labilis – C. laevigata – C. latifolia – C. lindheimeri – C. mildbraedii – C. occidentalis – C. pallida – C. paniculata – C. philippensis – C. planchoniana – C. pubescens – C. reticulata – C. sinensis – C. tenuifolia – C. tetrandra – C. timorensis – C. toka – C. tournefortii – C. trinervia – C. yunnanensis

Celtis L., Sp. Pl.: 1043 (1753).

Type species: Celtis australis L.


Mertensia Kunth
Momisia F. Dietr.
Solenostigma Endl.
Sparrea Hunz. & Dottori


Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum 2: 1043.
Hassler, M. 2017. Celtis. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2017. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2017 Nov. 9. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2017. Celtis. Published online. Accessed: Nov. 10 2017.

Additional references

Spitaler, R., Gurschler, S., Ellmerer, E., Schubert, B., Sgarbossa, M. & Zidorn, C. 2009. Flavonoids from Celtis australis (Cannabaceae). Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, DOI: 10.1016/j.bse.2008.11.020

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Zürgelbäume
English: Hackberry
español: Celtis
eesti: Tseltis
suomi: Keltikset
македонски: Копривка
Türkçe: Çitlembik

Celtis is a genus of about 60–70 species of deciduous trees, commonly known as hackberries or nettle trees, widespread in warm temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, in southern Europe, southern and eastern Asia, and southern and central North America, south to central Africa, and northern and central South America. The genus is present in the fossil record at least since the Miocene of Europe, and Paleocene of North America and eastern Asia.[1][2][3]

Previously included either in the elm family (Ulmaceae) or a separate family, Celtidaceae, the APG III system places Celtis in an expanded hemp family (Cannabaceae).[4][5] The generic name originated in Latin and was applied by Pliny the Elder to the unrelated Ziziphus lotus.[6]


Celtis species are generally medium-sized trees, reaching 10–25 m (35–80 ft) tall, rarely up to 40 m (130 ft) tall. The leaves are alternate, simple, 3–15 cm (1+1/4–6 in) long, ovate-acuminate, and evenly serrated margins. Diagnostically, Celtis can be very similar to trees in the Rosaceae and other rose motif families.

Small flowers of this monoecious plant appear in early spring while the leaves are still developing. Male flowers are longer and fuzzy. Female flowers are greenish and more rounded.

The fruit is a small drupe 6–10 mm (1/4–3/8 in) in diameter, edible in many species, with a dryish but sweet, sugary consistency, reminiscent of a date.
Selected species
Clusters of staminate (male) flowers of C. africana, with four tepals and four stamens each
Leaf of C. occidentalis

Celtis africana Burm.f. – white stinkwood (Afrotropical region)
Celtis australis L. – European hackberry, European nettle tree, or lote tree
Celtis balansae Planch. (New Caledonia, Australia)
Celtis biondii Pamp.
Celtis brasiliensis Planch.
Celtis bungeana L. – Bunge's hackberry
Celtis caucasica L. – Caucasian hackberry
Celtis conferta Planch. – cottonwood
Celtis conferta subsp. conferta – New Caledonia
Celtis conferta subsp. amblyphylla – Lord Howe Island
Celtis durandii Engl.
Celtis ehrenbergiana (Klotzsch) Liebm. – spiny hackberry, granjeno (Spanish) (southern US, Mexico, Greater Antilles, northern South America)
Celtis hypoleuca Planch. (New Caledonia, Australia)
Celtis iguanaea (Jacq.) Sarg. – iguana hackberry (Florida (US), Mexico, Caribbean, Central and South America)
Celtis integrifolia L. – African hackberry
Celtis jessoensis Koidz. – Japanese hackberry (Japan & Korea)
Celtis koraiensis L. – Korean hackberry
Celtis labilis L. – Hubei hackberry
Celtis laevigata Willd. – southern or sugar hackberry (southern US, Texas), sugarberry (eastern USA, northeastern Mexico)
Celtis lindheimeri Engelm. ex K.Koch – Lindheimer's hackberry (Texas (US), Coahuila (Mexico))
Celtis loxensis C.C.Berg
Celtis luzonica Warb. (Philippines)
Celtis mildbraedii Engl.
Celtis occidentalis L. – common or northern hackberry, false elm (eastern North America)
Celtis pallida Torr. – desert or shiny hackberry (southwestern US / Texas, northern Mexico)
Celtis paniculata (Endl.) Planch. – whitewood (eastern Malesia, eastern Australia, Micronesia, western Polynesia)
Celtis philippensis Planch.
Celtis planchoniana K.I.Chr. (eastern Europe and western Asia)
Celtis reticulata Torr. – netleaf hackberry (western North America)
Celtis schippii Standl.
Celtis sinensis Pers. – Chinese or Japanese hackberry, Chinese nettle tree (China and Japan)
Celtis tala Gillet ex Planch. – tala (South America)
Celtis tenuifolia Nutt. – dwarf hackberry (North America)
Celtis tetrandra Roxb. – Nilgiri elm
Celtis timorensis Span. – kayu busok
Celtis tournefortii L. – Oriental hackberry
Celtis trinervia Lam. – almex[7]

Formerly placed here

Trema cannabina Lour. (as C. amboinensis Willd.)
Trema lamarckiana (Schult.) Blume (as C. lamarckiana Schult.)
Trema orientalis (L.) Blume (as C. guineensis Schumach. or C. orientalis L.)
Trema tomentosa (Roxb.) H.Hara (as C. aspera Brongn. or C. tomentosa Roxb.)[8]

Uses and ecology

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Several species are grown as ornamental trees, valued for their drought tolerance. They are a regular feature of arboreta and botanical gardens, particularly in North America. Chinese hackberry (C. sinensis) is suited for bonsai culture, while a magnificent specimen in Daegu-myeon is one of the natural monuments of South Korea. Some, including common hackberry (C. occidentalis) and C. brasiliensis, are honey plants and pollen source for honeybees of lesser importance. C. occidentalis was used by the Omaha, eaten casually, as well as the Dakota people, who pounded them fine, seeds and all. The Pawnee used the pounded fruits in combination with fat and parched corn.[9]

Hackberry wood is sometimes used in cabinetry and woodworking. The berries of some, such as Celtis douglasii, are edible, and were consumed by the Mescalero Apaches.[10]

Celtis species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of certain Lepidoptera. These include mainly brush-footed butterflies, most importantly the distinct genus Libythea (beak butterflies) and some Apaturinae (emperor butterflies):
Common beak (Libythea lepita) caterpillars feed on Celtis in Asia

Acytolepis puspa – common hedge blue, recorded on Chinese hackberry (C. sinensis)
Automeris io – Io moth, recorded on southern hackberry (C. laevigata)
Asterocampa celtis – hackberry butterfly or hackberry emperor
Libythea celtis – European beak
Libythea labdaca – African beak
Libythea lepita – common beak
Libythea myrrha – club beak, recorded on C. tetrandra[11][12]
Libytheana carinenta – American snout or common snout butterfly
Nymphalis xanthomelas – scarce tortoiseshell, recorded on European hackberry (C. australis)
Sasakia charonda – great purple emperor, recorded on C. jessoensis and C. japonica
A putative new taxon of the two-barred flasher (Astraptes fulgerator) cryptic species complex, provisionally called "CELT," has hitherto only been found on C. iguanaea.[13][14]


The plant pathogenic basidiomycete fungus Perenniporia celtis was first described from a Celtis host plant. Some species of Celtis are threatened by habitat destruction.


Keeler, Harriet L. (1900). Our Native Trees and How to Identify Them. Originally published by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Facsimile edition from a scan of the first edition published 2005 by the Kent State University Press, Ohio. ISBN 0873388380. Available online through Google Books. , pp.249–252.
MacPhail, M. K., N. F. Alley, E. M. Truswell and I. R. K. Sluiter (1994). "Early Tertiary vegetation: evidence from spores and pollen." History of the Australian Vegetation: Cretaceous to Recent. Ed. Robert S. Hill. Cambridge University Press. pp. 189–261. ISBN 0521401976.Partially available on Google Books.
Manchester, S. R., Akhmetiev, M. A., & Kodrul, T. M. (2002). Leaves and fruits of Celtis aspera (Newberry) comb. nov. (Celtidaceae) from the Paleocene of North America and eastern Asia. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 163(5), 725-736.
Stevens, P.F., Angiosperm Phylogeny Website: Cannabaceae
"Celtis". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved February 12, 2012.
Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. I A–C. CRC Press. p. 468. ISBN 978-0-8493-2675-2.
MacVean, A.L. 2021. Celtis trinervia. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T179045950A149309679. Downloaded on 28 April 2021.
"GRIN Species Records of Celtis". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Archived from the original on 2009-01-20. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
"Uses of plants by the Indians of the Missouri River region". Washington, Govt. print. off. 1919.
Peattie, Donald Culross (1953). A Natural History of Western Trees. New York: Bonanza Books. p. 472.
Ravikanthachari, Nitin (April 2018). "Larval host plants of the butterflies of the Western Ghats, India". Research Gate.
Wahlberg, Niklas (October 2006). "Libythea myrrha Godart 1819". Tree of Life Web Project.
Brower, Andrew V.Z. (2006). Problems with DNA barcodes for species delimitation: ‘ten species’ of Astraptes fulgerator reassessed (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Systematics and Biodiversity 4(2): 127–132. doi:10.1017/S147720000500191X PDF fulltext
Hebert, P. D. N.; Penton, E. H.; Burns, J. M.; Janzen, D. H.; Hallwachs, W. (2004). "Ten species in one: DNA barcoding reveals cryptic species in the neotropical skipper butterfly Astraptes fulgerator". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 101 (41): 14812–14817. Bibcode:2004PNAS..10114812H. doi:10.1073/pnas.0406166101. PMC 522015. PMID 15465915. PDF fulltext Supporting Appendices

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