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Celtis laevigata Willd.

Kingdom: Plantae Rank: Species Parent: Celtis Status: Valid

Common Names:

  • SUGARBERRY - English, United States of America
  • SUGAR HACKBERRY - English, United States of America
  • PALO BLANCO - Spanish, Mexico

Morphological Description

Diagnosis: Small to medium-large tree with gray, smooth or conspicuously warty-roughened bark; leaf blades ovate or lanceolate, 3–9 cm long, entire or few-toothed, cuneate to cordate basally, obtuse to acuminate apically; flowers small, both staminate and perfect present; calyces deeply lobed; fruits small, round, smooth drupes with a thin layer of flesh around a hard stone, orange, brown, dull or dark red to reddish black on pedicels equaling or exceeding the subtending petioles; the fruits persist after the leaves fall.


Notes: Stream bottoms, slopes, rock hillsides. Late Mar–mid-Apr. Varieties are not always clearly distinguishable. Varieties laevigata and reticulata can usually be told apart without difficulty. However, individuals that appear to be var. texana often seem intermediate between varieties laevigata and reticulata and thus difficult to place definitively. Variety texana may well not warrant recognition. Also, in e TX var. laevigata is commonly thinner-leaved than in most of nc TX, intergrading westward with the stiffer-leaved var. texana. Sherman-Broyles et al. (1997b) recognized var. reticulata as a separate species and lumped var. texana with var. laevigata. We are following Kartesz (1994) and J. Kartesz (pers. comm. 1997) in recognizing all three varieties. Additional taxonomic work is needed to clarify the situation. (laevigata: smooth)