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Celtis iguanaea - Iguana hackberry


Native to:



South America through Central America, the Caribbean to Florida.

Dry or wet thickets of plains and hillsides. Up to 1280 meters above sea level. Tree, 7.5 meters tall.

Celtis iguanaea - Iguana hackberry

Ecological value:

Fast growing pioneer that provides fruit for birds and other wildlife. Can be implemented in reforestation schemes. Re-sprouts if cut down. Some species of Celtis are a pollen source for honeybees. Celtis species are also used as food plants for several caterpillars.

Material uses:

Wood is hard and heavy, but not durable. Used in smaller items and minimal construction. Wood used to make charcoal.

Edible uses:

The tree’s fruit is eaten raw.

Medicinal use:

Tree’s sap is used to treat eye diseases and the fruit itself has been used for treating dysentery and intestinal catarrh.

Other details:

Celtis iguanaea belongs to a genus of 60-70 species of trees that are distributed globally through warm temperate regions. Berries are generally edible when ripe. Several species are valued for their drought tolerance.


Zac Pepere/Christine Facella


“Celtis Iguanaea (Jacq.) Sarg. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 27, 2023.
“Celtis Iguanaea - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 27, 2023.
“Celtis.” 2023. Wikipedia. April 27, 2023.
Image source: Francisco Farriols Sarabia.

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