Nettle tree, European Hackberry, Celtis australis

tree of the family Ulmaceae (European Hackberry, Elm, Zelkova).

Origin: Southern Europe (Mediterranean species).
American species (Hackberry, Sugar Hackberry). In all, 70 species.
Habitat: full light; he appreciates the deep soils. European Hackberry supports the dry, poor and porous soils, and fits to the summer heat of urban middle. It is rather met in the South of France, because it fears frosts.
Hardiness: the Nettle tree, Celtis australis supports cold until - 23 °C or - 9 °F (zone 6)

Celtis occidentalis is less resistant to cold (until -12 °C or 10 °F : hardiness: zone 8).
Lifespan: 500 years.
Height: 20 m tall.
System root: The Nettle tree has deep roots.
Fluted bark, resembling that of the beech, grey with some pustules and protuberances.
Deciduous foliage. Simple leaves, alternate, elliptical, slightly asymmetrical at the base (what helps to recognize them), toothed and harsh on the top. They resemble those of the elm, but are more lengthened and less broad.
Small flowers, devoid of petals, in May. Small brown fruit resembling an olive (1 cm) with maturity in September. It is a drupe which persists on the tree after the fall of leaves.
Uses: its flexible wood and nevertheless resistant serves for making canes, handles of tools, whips and oars. Its seeds contain an edible oil. Its bark is used to produce a yellow tincture. European Hackberry is a nice tree of urban, frequent ornament in Provence. It is more and more planted in city instead of chestnut trees getting old and ill elms.

The American varieties are also planted as shade tree.


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