HACKBERRY, a name given to the fruit of Celtis occidentalis, belonging to the natural botanical order Ulmaceae, to which also belongs the elm ( Ulmus). It is also known under the name of "sugar-berry," " beaver- wood " and "nettle-tree." The hackberry tree is of middle size, attaining from 60 to 80 ft. in height (though sometimes reaching 130 ft.), and with the aspect of an elm. The leaves are ovate in shape, with a very long taper point, rounded and usually very oblique at the base, usually glabrous above and soft-pubescent beneath. The soft filmy .flowers appear early in the spring before the expansion of the leaves. The fruit is oblong, about half to three-quarters of an inch long, of a reddish or yellowish colour when young, turning to a dark purple in autumn. This tree is distributed through the deep shady forests bordering river banks from Canada (where it is very rare) to the southern states. The fruit has a sweetish and slightly astringent taste, and is largely eaten in the United States. The seeds contain an oil like that of almonds. The bark is tough and fibrous like hemp, and the wood is heavy, soft, fragile and coarse-grained, and is used for making fences and furniture. The root has been used as a dye for linens.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)