En EspaÑol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - February 21, 2014

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens, Trees
Title: Species of hackberry best for wildlife from Georgetown, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Which species of Hackberry tree is the best for wildlife in Georgetown, TX (just north of Austin)? Your Plant Database says Celtis occidentals is "among the BEST food and shelter plants for wildlife,” but in your Q&A Database, I’ve only seen the Celtis laevigata discussed for Central Texas. Is one species actually better than the other for wildlife? If both species would do well in our area, is there any problem with planting a few of each on the same 5 acres? Thank you!

ANSWER:

Okay, we can see how you got confused. Both Celtis occidentalis (Common hackberry) and Celtis laevigata (Sugar hackberry) are listed in our Native Plant Database with the common name "hackberry." You can follow the plant link to our webpage on each to learn their growing conditions, etc. On the webpage for Celtis occidentalis (Common hackberry), we found this line under Benefits:

"Use Wildlife: Hackberries are among the best food and shelter plants for wildlife. The fruit is relished by birds."

On the page for Celtis laevigata (Sugar hackberry), also under Benefits, was this line:

"Use Wildlife: At least 10 species of birds including robins, mockingbirds, and other songbirds eat the sweetish fruits."

This USDA Plant Profile Map shows that Celtis occidentalis (Common hackberry) is not native to Williamson County, but is native to Travis County and almost undoubtedly lives in Williamson County, too, but just has not been reported there. This USDA Plant Profile Map shows that Celtis laevigata (Sugar hackberry) does grow natively in Williamson County.

Take your pick.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common hackberry
Celtis occidentalis

Common hackberry
Celtis occidentalis

Common hackberry
Celtis occidentalis

Sugar hackberry
Celtis laevigata

Sugar hackberry
Celtis laevigata

Sugar hackberry
Celtis laevigata

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Protecting plants from birds near bird feeder
April 24, 2009 - I am happy to have several cardinal pairs living in my yard, but I need to discourage them from eating & destroying my purple heart planted under the huge cedar that holds my bird feeders. The cardina...
view the full question and answer

Understory plants for creek side in Austin
September 22, 2008 - We live along Shoal Creek in central Austin and would like to establish a natural balance of vegetation along the creek. We currently have a high tree canopy made up of native Cedar Elms. What would...
view the full question and answer

Plants for bird garden in Virginia
May 25, 2010 - I am expanding on a bird attracting garden and would like to know what plants to plant. It is a shade to partial sun area, in an approx. 9' circle, both small shrubs and flowers would be nice.
view the full question and answer

Forage plants for deer in Central Texas
December 06, 2014 - Looking for best forage plants and seed for deer forage, Canyon Lake-New Braunfels, Tx. Have searched listings, but areas are NE or other and not relevant to my location. Your time much appreciated. ...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for Globe Thistle in Virginia
June 15, 2013 - Hi, We are trying to get our garden to be 100% North American Native and are at about 90% native to our region. One of the last plants we have to replace is our Globe Thistle. Do you have a good r...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center