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Hackberry
(Celtis occidentalis) 

General Characteristics:  Small to medium sized tree that can reach heights of 60 feet at maturity.  Fairly common on Grosse Ile.  Bark is smooth and gray-brown on young trees but develops very characteristic corky appearance to bark as it matures.  Is related to the Elm Tree.  Likes rich, moist soil. 

Commercial Value:  Wood has very limited value.  Is very soft and rots easily in the elements.   

Wildlife Value:  Has a small berry-like fruit that turns from orange-red to purple and is relished by many bird species and small mammals.

Interesting Tidbits:  Historically, Native Americans made cakes by pulverizing the entire fruit, including the seeds.  The cake could be stored for long periods of time and still be edible.

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