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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Celtis ehrenbergiana (Desert hackberry)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Celtis ehrenbergiana

Celtis ehrenbergiana (Klotzsch) Liebm.

Desert Hackberry, Spiny Hackberry, Shiny Hackberry, Granjeno, Huasteco

Ulmaceae (Elm Family)

Synonym(s): Celtis pallida, Celtis spinosa var. pallida, Celtis tala var. pallida, Momisia pallida

USDA Symbol: ceeh

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

One of the few shrubs in the Celtis genus, this deciduous plant rarely reaches 10 ft. in height, but can grow taller. Its numerous spiny branches are whitish gray. The bark is smooth and gray. Leaves are small, roundish, and somewhat rough. Clusters of small, fairly inconspicuous, white flowers are followed by shiny red, orange and yellow fruit ripening in fall but persisting long after leaf-fall.

The species name "pallida" can be attributed to the paleness of the branches.


From the Image Gallery

5 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous , Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Inflorescence: Axillary
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to almost 20 feet tall, often much shorter.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Orange

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May


USA: AZ , FL , NM , TX
Native Distribution: W. TX to AZ & n. Mex.
Native Habitat: Mesas; foothills; thickets

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Drier, rocky soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam Medium Loam Clay Loam, Clay.
Conditions Comments: Good erosion control.


Use Ornamental: Attractive
Use Wildlife: Valuable bird and honey plant. The dense growth makes excellent cover for Gambel's quail and other birds. Nectar-insects, bees, butterflies, moths. Fruit-mammals, birds. Celtis ehrenbergiana is the host plant source for the occasional population explosions of American Snout Butterflies. During summer releafing at the end of extended droughts, adult American Snout populations can number in the billions in South Texas.
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: American Snout butterfly

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

American Snout Butterfly
(Libytheana carinenta)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Edible plants native to Austin, TX
August 05, 2009
Hello, I am a chef from Buenos Aires Argentina visiting Austin, Texas and would like to learn about native, edible plants in the region. Please let me know if there are any native, edible plants...
view the full question and answer

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0864 Collected May 4, 1994 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1059 Collected 2007-05-23 in Cameron County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 297 - Trees of Central Texas (1984) Vines, Robert A.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Celtis ehrenbergiana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Celtis ehrenbergiana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Celtis ehrenbergiana


Record Modified: 2022-10-17
Research By: TWC Staff

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