AZ Arboretums

Celtis pallida

Desert hackberry

Common: Desert hackberry, Spiny hackberry, Granjeno, Chaparral
Family: Ulmaceae
Range/Origin: Southwestern USA (Texas, New Mexico), northern Mexico (Chihuahua, Durango, Jalisco, and Michoacán) from 3000 to 8000 feet elevation (1000m to 2400m), South America
Light: Full sun to light shade
Will drop leaves in drought or heavy freeze

Inconspicuous flower followed by bright orange berries that ripen during July through September in southern Arizona. Grows on rocky slopes and along washes, sometimes forming thickets. Range extends into the tropics of Mexico, down as far as Argentina. Southern Arizona is the northern limit.

The berries are succulent with a single, large seed which is edible. Semi-dry berries taste like a sweet apricot current. They contain niacin and magnesium. Berries were gathered by the Tohono O'odham and the Apaches, eaten fresh or mashed into cakes and dried for the winter. The powdered root was used for sores.

eer, caterpillars and butterflies eat the leaves. Birds, coyotes, foxes and javelina eat the berries. The thorny, dense branches provide shelter for coveys of quail and nesting white-wing doves.