Celtis sinensis 'Green Cascade'
Common Name: weeping Japanese hackberry 
Type: Tree
Family: Cannabaceae
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to May
Bloom Description: Greenish
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought


Winter hardy to USDA Zone 7 (possibly Zone 6) where it is best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates part shade. Also tolerates wind, many urban pollutants and a wide range of soil conditions, including wet, dry and poor soils. Propagate by seeds or cuttings. Although this tree suckers, it primarily naturalizes by seed dispersal.

This species will spread invasively in some environments. It has been declared to be a noxious weed in parts of South Africa and along the eastern coast of Australia where it rapidly colonizes certain areas replacing native vegetation. This tree is not considered to be invasive in the U.S.

‘Green Cascade’ must be asexually propagated in order to duplicate its weeping form.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Celtis sinensis, commonly called Chinese hackberry, is a deciduous (infrequently semi-evergreen), fast-growing tree in the hemp family (formerly included in the elm family) that typically matures to 40-60’ tall and 35-50’ wide with a round wide-spreading crown. It is native to slopes in eastern China, Japan and Korea. Pointed, ovate to ovate-elliptic, round-toothed green leaves (2-5.5” long) are dark and glossy above but paler and somewhat hairy beneath with rounded to obliquely truncate bases. Leaves turn yellow in fall. Inconspicuous monoecious greenish flowers bloom from the leaf axils and stem bases in spring (March-early May). Female flowers are followed by fruits (globose drupes to 1/3” long) which have stalks about the same length as the leaf stalks. Immature fruits are green, but mature to orange before finally turning reddish-brown in fall. Birds consume the drupes and disperse the seeds. Mature trees have smooth gray to gray-brown bark.

Genus name comes from the Greek name for another tree.

Specific epithet means Chinese.

‘Green Cascade’ is a weeping cultivar whose branches weep to the ground. It is best trained over gates, pergolas, garden arbors or large trellises. It has no tendrils and will not twine like a vine, so it must be attached to a support structure by tying or draping. Unsupported plants will not grow as upright trees, but will simply spread along the ground in a mounded form (sometimes being referred to as “hackberry snakes”). Supported trees may be trained to varying heights. ‘Green Cascade’ was reportedly brought into the U.S. from Japan in 1983 as seed collected from a specimen tree at Suwa Jinja shrine in the village of Kamiyamaguchimura. It is winter hardy to USDA Zones 7 (perhaps 6) -9.


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 (disfigures leaves) is less of a problem with this species than with Celtis occidentalis. Powdery mildew, leaf spot and root rot may occur. Watch for lacebugs and scale.


‘Green Cascade’ is a weeping cultivar which is often described as being a conversation piece. Must be grown on or over a garden structure (arbor, pergola, gate, trellis). The species is marginally winter hardy to the St. Louis area.