Identifiable by its warty mature bark, the hackberry is a relative to elm trees. Its rate of growth makes it a good street and riverside tree that can help prevent erosion and water runoff.
More detail: Hackberry’s Tree of the Month.
Alternate, simple, ovate, 2 to 5 inches long, serrated margin, may be hairy or scruffy, green above and paler and somewhat pubescent below
Very small, light green, produced on stalks from new leaf axils
Round drupe, turning orange-red to dark purple when ripe, flesh is thin and quite dry but edible and sweet, enclosing a large pit
Slender, zigzag, light red-brown with numerous lighter lenticels
Smooth and gray-brown when young, soon developing corky, individual “warts” which later develop into rough corky, irregular ridges
A small- to medium-sized tree reaching up to 60 feet tall with a wide-spreading crown
Typically 40 to 60 feet tall with a width of 25 to 45 feet
Present throughout the upper half of the eastern United States, the Great Plains, and southern Canada
Medium-sized deciduous tree
Leaves can turn to a unique lemon-yellow color
Can adapt to a variety of sites, including soils that are wet or dry, clay or rocky, rich or poor
Prefers full sun and some shade
Sugarberry, American elm, rock elm, winged elm
Pests and Diseases
Has a host of foliar and twig diseases, all of which are cosmetic in nature; otherwise has no serious health hazards.
Native Americans used hackberry fruits to flavor meat in the same manner as black pepper.
The hackberry is highly resilient to drought due to its long taproot.