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Hackberry

fruit tree

HACKBERRY, a name given to the fruit of tire Celtis occidentalis, L., belonging to the natural order Ulmacea>. It is also known under the name of "sugar berry," " beaver-wood," and "nettle tree." The hackberry tree is of middle size, attaining from 60 to 80 feet in height, and with the aspect of an elm. The leaves are ovate, cordate-ovate, and ovate-lanceolate,-with a very long taper point, - mostly glabroas above, and usually soft-pubescent beneath. The soft filmy flowers appear early in the spring before the expansion of the leaves. 'The fruit or berry, about the size of a bird-cherry, is of an obovate shape, of a reddish or yellowish colour when young, turning to a dark purple in autumn. This tree, together with other species of the same genus, is distributed through the deep shady forests bordering the river banks of New England to Wisconsin and even further southward. The fruit has a sweetish and slightly astringent taste, and is largely eaten in the United States, and, although not officinal, has been highly recommended in cases of dysentery. The seeds contain an oil like that of almonds. The bark is tough and fibrous like hemp, the wood is hard and compact and heavy, and next to ebony and box has been spoken of as the best for durabitii.y, strength, and beauty ; its tenacity and flexibility have led to its employment as shafts for carriages, hoops, &c. The root has been used as a dye for linens. The root, bark, and leaves of C. orientalis are employed in the East as a remedy in epilepsy.

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