Celtis tenuifolia

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Dwarf hackberry
Celtis tenuifolia leaves.JPG
C. tenuifolia leaves after a rain
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Cannabaceae
Genus: Celtis
C. tenuifolia
Binomial name
Celtis tenuifolia
Celtis tenuifolia range map 3.png
Generalized natural range of Celtis tenuifolia

Celtis tenuifolia, the dwarf hackberry or Georgia hackberry is a shrub or small tree 2 to 12 meters high. It is native to eastern North America, but is very uncommon north of the Ohio River.[1] In Canada, dwarf hackberry is designated as threatened and protected under Canada's Species at Risk Act.[2]


The leaves are alternate, simple, blades 5 to 7 centimeters long, and 2 to 3.5 centimeters in width, shallowly toothed, and finely hairy. The winter buds are brown and hairy, similar to those of other hackberries, but smaller, only 1 to 2 mm. long. Terminal buds absent.

Flowers are monecious and unisexual, occurring either solitarily or in small clusters. This species is wind-pollinated and appears to be self-compatible.

The fruit is a berry-like drupe, 5 to 8 millimeters in diameter, consisting of a single stone encased within a thin, sweet mesocarp. From green, it becomes a light orange, then a dark red, then purplish-brown. This edible mesocarp is composed of a smooth outer crust and a pulpy yellow inside.

Ecology and uses[edit]

Dwarf hackberry is shade intolerant, drought tolerant and slow-growing. It grows in dry upland habitats, including open woodlands, alvars, and sandy near-shore habitats. It is usually not found among other hackberries, although when other hackberry species occur in proximity to dwarf hackberry, intermediate forms may occur. Like other Celtis species, this species is a moderate calciphile, and is often found growing in thin soil over limestone.

Songbirds and other wildlife eat the fruit,[3] likely playing a role in local dispersal.


  1. ^ "Celtis Tenuifolia Range Map" (PDF). United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
  2. ^ COSEWIC. 2003. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the dwarf hackberry Celtis tenuifolia in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. vi + 15 pp. (www.sararegistry.gc.ca/status/status_e.cfm)
  3. ^ Little, Elbert L. (1980). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region. New York: Knopf. p. 417. ISBN 0-394-50760-6.