NETTLE TREE, the name applied to certain trees of the genus Celtis, belonging to the family or natural order Ulmaceae. The best-known species have usually obliquely ovate, or lanceolate leaves, serrate at the edge, and marked by three prominent nerves. The flowers are inconspicuous, usually hermaphrodite, with a 4- or 5-parted perianth, as many stamens, a hairy disk and a i -celled ovary with a 2-parted style. The fruit is succulent like a little drupe, a character which serves to separate the genus alike from the nettles and the elms, to both of which it is allied. Celtis australis is a common tree, both wild and planted, throughout the Mediterranean region extending to Afghanistan and the Himalayas; it is also cultivated in Great Britain. It is a rapidly growing tree, from 30 to 40 ft. high, with a remarkably sweet fruit, recalling a small black cherry, and was one of the plants to which the term " lotus " was applied by Dioscorides and the older authors. The wood, which is compact and hard and takes a high polish, is used for a variety of purposes. C. occidentalis, a North American species, is the hackberry (q.v.).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)