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Illinois Native Plant Guide - Hackberry - Pages 62-63

Illinois Native Plant Guide

Celtis occidentalis

Preferred Water Depth and Inundation Tolerance

This is a floodplain forest and flatwoods species (1st terrace). Seedlings cannot tolerate submergence, but mature trees can survive spring flooding.

Wildlife Value

Fruits are eaten by birds and small mammals. Serves as an exclusive food source of the hackberry and snout butterflies.


Used in upper shoreline zones, for streambank stabilization, and upland slope buffers.

Availability, Establishment, and Maintenance

  • Easily transplanted bareroot as small tree or balled and burlapped as a larger tree.
  • Seeds should be stratified for 60-90 days at 41o F in a moist medium.
  • Growth rate is medium, 22-30 inches per year.

Celtis occidentalis

Mature Height
Up to 80 feetHackberry

Plant Type
Deciduous tree

Indicator Status
Facultative (-)


Nutrient Load Tolerance

Salt Tolerance

Siltation Tolerance
Low to moderate

Flowering Color and Time
Greenish yellow
April to May

Light Preference
Shade tolerant

Seeding Rate
Not applicable

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