Herb: Desert Hackberry

Latin name: Celtis pallida

Family: Ulmaceae (Elm Family)

Edible parts of Desert Hackberry:

Fruit - raw. A mealy pleasant acid taste. The fruit is up to 8mm in diameter, though most of this is the large seed. The N. American Indians ground the fruit and ate it with parched corn or fat. This means that they probably also ate the seed.

Description of the plant:


5.5 m
(18 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Gravelly and well-drained sandy soils in deserts and desert grasslands.

Other uses of Desert Hackberry:

The plants have an extensive root system and are sometimes planted for erosion control. Wood. Of little value, though it is sometimes used for fence posts and fuel.

Propagation of the herb:

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 Desert Hackberry:

Gravelly and well-drained sandy soils in deserts and desert grasslands.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Celtis pallida:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.