Celtis laevigata var. laevigata

Secondary Names:
sugar hackberry, palo blanco

Leaf Type: Deciduous
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

A very common, large tree to 90 feet tall and a trunk 2 feet or more in diameter, though usually smaller in stature, with a round or oval crown of light green foliage.

Range/Site Description:

Distributed widely over the eastern two-thirds of the state, sugraberry occurs most abundantly and attains greatest size in rich alluvial soils along riverbottoms, but thrives on many other well-drained soil types.


Alternate, simple, 2.5" to 5" long and 1" to 2" wide, ovate or lanceolate, base lopsided, margin smooth or with a few remote teeth near the base, and long-pointed; leaf texture thin, smooth, with 3 prominent veins at the base beneath; leaf color light green turning yellow in fall.


Borne on slender stalks in the leaf axils in April or May, inconspicuous, greenish-white in color.


Ripening in September as an orange-red, round or oblong drupe, about 0.25" in diameter, on a stalk up to 0.5" long, turning dark purple to black later in the fall.


Gray or gray-brown, smooth and thin at first, developing the distinctive warty bumps and ridges on larger trunks and branches.


Soft, weak, close-grained, and light yellow, used occasionally for flooring and furniture, but chiefly for fuelwood.

Similar Species:

Netleaf hackberry (Celtis laevigata var. reticulata) has leaves 2" long or less, with raised veins underneath that form a net-like appearance, occurring in West Texas; Lindheimer's hackberry (C. lindheimeri) has grayish-green leaves and only occurs in Central Texas.

Interesting Facts:

This species occurs in all ecoregions except Mountain Forests.

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