Celtis pumila

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: dwarf hackberry 
Type: Tree
Family: Cannabaceae
Native Range: Central and eastern North America
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Pale green
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Insignificant
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Edible
Tolerate: Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Best grown in evenly moist to dry, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerant of rocky and sandy soils. Hardy in Zones 5-8.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Celtis pumila, commonly called dwarf hackberry, is a small, deciduous tree or large shrub native to the southern and eastern United States where it is found sparsely scattered in the central and southern Appalachian Mountains, the Piedmont, and the Ozarks on dry, upland habitats such as glades, bluffs, and rocky woods. Occasionally found on rocky streambanks and sand dunes. Mature specimens will reach around 20' tall with a similar spread. The main branches are arching and the bark is generally smooth. The leaves are ovate and will reach 2-3" long and 1-2" wide. The pale green to greenish-yellow blooms appear in spring with the expanding leaves and are not considered horticulturally significant. The flowers are followed by 0.25" diameter drupes that mature from green to orange or chestnut brown. The flesh that surrounds the large seed is edible and somewhat sweet. The fruits are eaten by birds.

Genus name comes from the Greek name for another tree.

The specific epithet pumila means "small" or "dwarf", in reference to the smaller mature size of this species compared to other members of the genus.


Witches’ broom (dwarfed, dense, contorted twig clusters at the branch ends) is common in some areas. It does no significant harm to the tree, but can produce unsightly results. Hackberry nipple gall can be fairly common but is only aesthetically unpleasing and does not cause long-term harm to the plant. Powdery mildew, leaf spot and root rot may occur. Watch for lacebugs and scale.


Accent specimen, street tree.