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Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Florida 4-H Forest Ecology


Celtis laevigata
Family: Cannabaceae

Natural History

Leaves of sugarberry | Photo credit: Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan,

The sugarberry is also known as sugar hackberry, hackberry, and Mississippi hackberry. Sugarberry can be easily recognized by its bark, which is covered with wart-like bumps. The leaves of the sugarberry contain allelopathic chemicals. As they fall and litter the ground around the tree, these chemicals inhibit nearby seed germination and growth of many other plant species.

For many years, this tree was thought to be in the elm family because of the general "elm-like" appearance of the leaves. Recent DNA analysis has shown, however, that these trees are more closely related to hemp (Cannabis sativa) and should be placed in that family (Cannabaceae).

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