Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Celtis pallida, Spiny Hackberry

Spiny Hackberry has small greenish-yellow flowers, inconspicuous, that bloom from March to May. Celtis pallida Spiny Hackberry has bright yellow, orange or reddish berries that provide food for small mammals and birds. Celtis pallida Spiny Hackberry is a host species for the larvae of the American Snout Butterfly. This species grows up to approximately 12 feet or so.Celtis pallida Spiny Hackberry is a native shrub or small tree that is fully armed with stout sharp spines or thorns thereby providing protection for birds and small mammals. Celtis pallida

Scientific Name: Celtis pallida
Common Name: Spiny Hackberry
Also Called: Chaparral, Desert Hackberry (Spiny), Granjeno (Spanish: Garambullo, Cumbro, Bainoro, Garabato, Granjeno, Granjeno Huasteco, Huasteco, Vaino Blanco, Acebuche, Capul, Palo de Guila, Rompecapa)
Family: Ulmaceae, Elm family
Note; the genus Celtis is moving to the Cannabaceae Family
Synonyms: (Celtis pallida, Celtis spinosa var. pallida, Celtis tala var. pallida, Momisia pallida)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial thorns singles or paired;
Size: Up to 12 feet or so.
Growth Form: Shrub, tree; branches dense, spreading, with thorn about 1 inch; branches with whitish gray smooth bark; puberulent.
Leaves: Green; deciduous; relatively small, about 1½ long, thickish; ovate to ovate-oblong; margins entire or dentate; leaf surfaces scabrous.
Flower Color: Green, small, inconspicuous; flowers from leaf axils; fruit a red, yellow or orange drupe.
Flowering Season: March to May, Arizona and California; February to May in Texas.
Elevation: 1,500 to 3,000 feet; 3,000 to 4,000 in California.

Habitat Preferences: Foothills, mesas, canyons, washes; often forming dense thickets.

Recorded Range: Celtis pallida is found in the southwestern United States in AZ, FL, NM, TX. It is also native to Baja California, Mexico and south to Central and South America. In Arizona it is found in the southern ½ of the state with few or no records in La Paz, Santa Cruz and Yuma counties.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Celtis pallida.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: In North America Celtis pallida is listed as an Endangered species by the state of Florida: Celtis pallida, spiny hackberry, Endangered.

Genus Information: In North America there are 20 species and 25 accepted taxa overall for Celtis. World wide, The Plant List includes 72 accepted species names and includes a further 102 infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States, Arizona and Utah each have 2 species of Celtis, California and New Mexico each have 3 species, Nevada has 1 species and Texas has 6 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

Comments: Celtis pallida is a heavily armed native shrub or small tree that is often used as an ornamental in desert landscapes. This species provides food and shelter for small mammals, deer, birds and insects such as native honey bees and butterflies.

Celtis pallida is a host species for the larvae of the American Snout Butterfly (Libytheana carinenta).

In Southwest Desert Flora also see Netleaf Hackberry, Celtis reticulata.

Date Profile Completed: 09/20/2016, updated format 10/06/2017
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search; as Celtis ehrenbergiana - (accessed 09/20/2016)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 09/20/2016).
Sherman-Broyles, Susan L., Barker, William T., Schulz, Leila M.; FNA| Family List | FNA Vol. 3 | Ulmaceae | Celtis 6. Celtis pallida Torrey in W. H. Emory, Rep. U.S. Mex. Bound. 2: 203. 1859.
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 09/20/2016]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center at Uvalde: (accessed: 09/20/2016)
BAMONA; Butterflies and Moths of North America; Collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera; (accessed 09/20/2016).
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information 09/20/2016).