This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Trees or shrubs, with serrate or entire pinnately veined or in some species 3-5-nerved leaves, and polygamous or monoecious (rarely dioecious?) flowers, borne in the axils of leaves of the season, the staminate clustered, the fertile solitary or 2-3 together. Calyx 4-6-parted or of distinct sepals. Filaments erect, exserted. Ovary sessile. Stigmas 2, recurved or divergent, tomentose or plumose. Fruit an ovoid to globose drupe, the exocarp pulpy, the endocarp bony Seed-coat membranous. Embryo curved. [Name ancient, used by Pliny for an African Lotus-tree.]
About 60 species, of temperate and tropical regions. Besides the following, some three others occur in southern and western North America. Type species: Celtis australis L.
Leaves thin, not strongly reticulate-veined beneath.
Pedicels mostly twice as long as the drupe, or longer; leaves large.
Leaves ovate to ovate-lanceolate, drupe 4"-5" in diameter.
Leaves smooth or nearly so above.
Leaves very rough above.
Leaves lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate; drupe 3* - 4* in diameter.
Pedicels short, often little longer than the drupe; leaves small.
Leaves thick, coriaceous, strongly reticulate-veined beneath.
A tree or shrub, attaining a maximum height of about 900 and a trunk diameter of 30, the bark dark, rough, often corky. Leaves ovate or ovate-lanceolate, sharply serrate, mostly thin, acute or acuminate at the apex, inequilateral, 1 1/2'-4'.long, 1'-2 1/2' wide, smooth and glabrous above, pubescent, at least on the veins, beneath; staminate flowers numerous; pistillate flowers usually solitary, slender-peduncled; calyx-segments linear-oblong, deciduous; drupes globose to globose-oblong, purple, or nearly black when mature, or orange, 4"-5" in diameter, sometimes edible, on stalks usually twice their length or longer.
In dry, often rocky, soil, Quebec to Manitoba, North Carolina, Missouri and Oklahoma. Wood soft, weak, coarse-grained; color light yellow; weight per cubic foot 40 lbs. April-May. Fruit ripe Sept. Nettle-tree. False or bastard-elm. Beaver-wood. Juniper-tree. One-berry. Rim- or hoop-ash.
Celtis canina Raf., differing by relatively longer, narrower and usually longer tipped leaves, and growing in rich soil, within the range of C. occidentalis, may be a race of that species.