and Deciduous Forest Trees
of Southern Ontario

Northern Hackberry
Celtis Occidentalis

Location in Ontario: Northern Hackberry grows throughout the Deciduous Forest Region, and along the Ottawa River.

Northern Hackberry, Long Point, Norfolk County 

Genus Celtis: Leaves are simple, alternate and asymmetrical. Flowers are monoecious with longer, fuzzy male flowers and more rounded female flowers. Seeds are found in a reddish-purple drupe. In Ontario, Celtis includes Northern Hackberry and Dwarf Hackberry; similar species except for size.

Habitat: Hackberry is found on a variety of soils.

Landscape Use: Northern Hackberry makes an interesting landscape tree with its beautiful and unusual bark. It is a medium sized tree with a rounded top and colourful fruit, that is easily transplanted.

TREE FACT: Northern Hackberry is a very common tree in Point Pelee National Park.

Leaves: Hackberry leaves are alternate and simple, with a tapered tip. The shape is asymmetrical.


Flowers: Northern Hackberry is monoecious with male and female flowers on the same tree. Small, greenish flowers appear in May.

Fruit: The seeds are in a reddish-purple fruit (drupe) which is edible and matures in October. It is an important source of food for many types of wildlife.  The fruit often stays on branches into winter. Fruit is produced after 15 years, with good seed crops most years.


Bark: The bark is gray and unusual, with irregular ridges.

Northern Hackberry often has unusual markings on its bark, Point lee National Park  

Hackberry is a small to medium sized tree, reaching 20 metres.

The wood is hard and heavy, but weak. Hackberry is occasionally used commercially for some low grade furniture, boxes and crates.
Specific gravity:
Janka Hardness:
880 lb
Wood Comparison Chart

Northern Hackberry, University of Guelph Arboretum