Herb: Hackberry


Latin name: Celtis occidentalis


Family: Ulmaceae (Elm Family)



Medicinal use of Hackberry:

An extract obtained from the wood has been used in the treatment of jaundice. A decoction of the bark has been used in the treatment of sore throats. When combined with powdered shells it has been used to treat VD.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Tree

Height:
20 m
(66 feet)

Flovering:
May

Habitat of the herb:

Dry to moist and rich woods, river banks, rocky barrens etc. Frequently found on limestone soils.

Edible parts of Hackberry:

Fruit - raw. Very sweet and pleasant tasting, they can be eaten out of hand or can be used for making jellies, preserves etc. The fruit is often produced abundantly in Britain, it is about the size of a blackcurrant, but there is very little flesh surrounding a large seed and it is therefore a very fiddly crop. The flesh is dry and mealy but with a pleasant sweet taste. Seed. No more details. The fruit and seed can be ground up finely together and used as a flavouring. The N. American Indians ate them with parched corn.

Other uses of the herb:

A dye is obtained from the roots. No more details are given. Fairly wind-tolerant, it can be planted as part of a shelterbelt. Wood - rather soft, weak, coarse-grained, heavy. It weighs 45lb per cubic foot and is sometimes used commercially for cheap furniture, veneer, fencing fuel etc.

Propagation of Hackberry:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed is best given 2 - 3 months cold stratification and then sown February/March in a greenhouse. Germination rates are usually good, though the stored seed might take 12 months or more to germinate. The seed can be stored for up to 5 years. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. The leaves of seedlings often have a lot of white patches without chlorophyll, this is normal and older plants produce normal green leaves. Grow the seedlings on in a cold frame for their first winter, and plant them out in the following late spring or early summer. Give them some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry to moist and rich woods, river banks, rocky barrens etc. Frequently found on limestone soils.

Known hazards of Celtis occidentalis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.