Kudos for the Common Hackberry
First, I have to say that I am heartsick over yesterday’s election. Heartsick, and worried about what the future has in store. However, I don’t want to write about the election. I spend a lot of time on politics, and one of the reasons I started this blog was to get my mind onto other things.
Also, I believe that in dark times we need our gardens, and all the things that give us joy, more than ever.
So for today’s post I’m going to extend some recognition to the Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis). Not one of your glamour trees, the Common Hackberry. The name itself sounds rather blunt and utilitarian. However, this is a tree with some important virtues.
We have a C. occidentalis planted in the parkway in front of the house. I chose it from the list of approved street trees provided by our town. The primary reason was that it is a host plant for at least five kinds of moths and butterflies.
Since the tree was planted, I’ve seen two of those butterfly species in the garden: the Mourning Cloak and the Question Mark. Of these, we only have pictures of the Mourning Cloak.
Common Hackberry is also a pretty tough customer. It can tolerate poor soil, dry and wet conditions, and city pollution.
When our Hackberry was first planted it looked a little strange. It was suffering from witches broom, which is a common but harmless problem with this tree. However, over the last couple of years it has developed a nice pyramid shape. And the leaves turn a pleasant yellow in autumn.
So give the Common Hackberry some consideration if you are considering a new shade tree or two. It may not be the most elegant or beautiful of trees, but it pays its dues.