Chinese Celtis

Latin Name: Celtis sinensis

Origin: Native of China, Korea and Japan

Fruiting branch, Sydney

Fruiting branch, Sydney

amily: Ulmaceae.

Known Hazards: None known.

Habitat: Lowland and hills, roadsides and slopes at elevations of 100 – 1500 metres.

Edibility Rating: 2 (1-5)

Medicinal Rating: 1 (1-5)

Physical Characteristics: Deciduous shrub or tree to 15 (rarely to 25) m high. Bark smooth, silvery grey. Leaves with base attaching to leaf stalk asymmetrically; leaves emerging at flowering initially hairy, particularly below, but rapidly becoming almost hairless. Fruit globe-shaped, succulent, 6–8 mm wide, on stalk 0.4–1 cm long.
Flowers: Inflorescence of few flowers, upper flowers bisexual, lower flowers male with stamens falling before sepals; 4 sepals, purplish on outer surface, about 2.5 mm long and 1 mm wide, wider than enclosed petals; 4 petals, cream and as long as sepals; 4 stamens. Flowers late winter to early spring.The flowers are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.


Young branch. Image by Tony From Sydney

Young branch. Image by Tony From Sydney

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by mature leaves 4–10 cm long, 2–4.5 cm wide, ovate, dark green, mostly hairless and shiny above, lower surface with hairs on veins and paler than upper surface, margins toothed in the upper half only, mature fruit orange-brown.


Dispersal: Seeds that are often spread in mud on vehicles and animals.

Edible Uses

The fruit is up to 8mm in diameter. We have no further information, but the fruit is liable to consist of a thin, sweet, though dry and mealy flesh around a large seed. The leaves are used as a tea substitute.

Medicinal Uses

The root bark is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, poor appetite, shortness of breath and swollen feet.


Other Uses

Regularly foraged by Flying Foxes and Brush-tail Possums

None known

Notes: Naturalised in damp areas, particularly along banks of waterways, in south-east Queensland and to a lesser extent in north-east New South Wales. An important environmental weed in these areas. Commonly found on clay soils. Seeds rarely survive for more than two years.

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