European Nettle Tree

Celtis australis is commonly known as the European nettle tree, or sometimes Mediterranean hackberry, lote tree, or honeyberry. It is a deciduous tree native to Asia Minor, North Africa and southern Europe. It can grow to 25 meters, but ten meters is more normal. Trees carry flowers of both sexes and are wind pollenated. he fruit are small, purple berry-like drupe which hang in small clusters. They are attractive to, and eaten by birds and other wildlife.

It grows well in a Mediterranean climate and is drought tolerant but needs full sun. It thrives in nutritionally poor light soils.

Funky Facts File: It is believed to be the ‘lotus’ tree described in ancient Greek texts, and the fruit and its effects are described in Tennyson’s The Lotus Eaters. A tree planted in 1550 in France has reached 18 meters in height and five meters in girth!

Young European Nettle Tree – Westover Gardens © Karen McKenzie