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Celtis_australis - L.

Common Name Nettle Tree, European hackberry
Family Cannabaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Hedges, banks and sandy places[100].
Range S. Europe.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Celtis_australis Nettle Tree, European hackberry


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Celtis_australis Nettle Tree, European hackberry
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Tintazul

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

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Celtis_australis is a deciduous Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Synonyms

C. lutea.

Habitats

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw[3, 7, 100]. A mealy pleasant taste[74]. Small and insipidly sweet[2, 183]. Of little value[177]. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter[200] with a single large seed[K]. Seed - raw or cooked[7, 46, 61, 105]. An oil is obtained from the seed[7, 105].

Medicinal Uses

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The leaves and fruit are astringent, lenitive and stomachic[7, 254]. The leaves are gathered in early summer and dried for later use[7]. The fruit, particularly before it is fully ripe, is considered to be more effective medicinally[254]. A decoction of both leaves and fruit is used in the treatment of amenorrhoea, heavy menstrual and intermenstrual bleeding and colic[218, 240]. The decoction can also be used to astringe the mucous membranes in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery and peptic ulcers[254].

Other Uses

A yellow dye is obtained from the bark[100]. A fatty oil is obtained from the seed[243]. No more information is given. Wood - very tough, pliable, durable[46, 61, 158]. Widely used by turners[7]. Used for the handles of agricultural implements[272]. The flexible thin shoots are used as walking sticks[61]. An excellent fuel[146].

Cultivation details

Succeeds in any reasonably good soil, preferring a good fertile well-drained loamy soil[1, 11, 200]. Succeeds on dry gravels and on sandy soils[200]. The trees have deep spreading roots[7] and are very drought resistant once established[74, 200]. This species requires mild winters if it is to succeed[3]. Trees prefer hotter summers and more sunlight than are normally experienced in Britain, they often do not fully ripen their wood when growing in this country and they are then very subject to die-back in winter[1, 11, 200]. A hardier form, from seed collected in the Caucasus, is in cultivation in Britain[11]. The fruit and the seed are sometimes sold in local markets in the Balkans[46, 183]. This plant is said to be the lotus fruit of the ancients[183]. It is mentioned in the story of Odysseus returning from Troy and the story relates that if a person should eat the fruit they will never leave that area. Coppices well[146]. A good shade tree[200]. Trees can be very long-lived, perhaps to 1000 years[200]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].

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Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[200]. Stored seed is best given 2 - 3 months cold stratification and then sown February/March in a greenhouse[78, 200]. 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[113]. 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[K]. Give them some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Celtis australisNettle Tree, European hackberry32

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

11100200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Murat KARA   Fri Jun 4 13:08:23 2004

Turkish name:?itlenbik

elizabeth Stokes   Sat Jan 17 2009

From photographs, the leaves of the Celtis australis seem to droop. Is this true? I am interested in using it as a lawn tree near the house for shade but droopy leaves would make so sad looking.

taffazull   Mon Apr 20 2009

With reference to Elizabeth Stokes question this tree is called Brimij in Kashmiri and grows wild in Kashmir. To me the leaves do not appear to droop but somehow it is a favourite tree for planting in graveyards. I really do not know why people like to plant this tree in graveyards and wonder if it is associated with some old mythology. Identification of Brimij as Celtis is from the well known book "Kashmir" by Lawrence

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