Nettle Tree - Encyclopedia




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NETTLE TREE, the name applied to certain trees of the genus Celtis, belonging to the family or natural order Ulmaceae. The best-known species have usually obliquely ovate, or lanceolate leaves, serrate at the edge, and marked by three prominent nerves. The flowers are inconspicuous, usually hermaphrodite; with a 40r 5-parted perianth, as many stamens, a hairy disk and a I-celled ovary with a 2-parted style. The fruit is succulent like a little drupe, a character which serves to separate the genus alike from the nettles and the elms, to both of which it is allied. Celtis australis is a common tree, both wild and planted, throughout the Mediterranean region extending to Afghanistan and the Himalayas; it is also cultivated in Great Britain. It is a rapidly growing tree, from 30 to 40 ft. high, with a remarkably sweet fruit, recalling a small black cherry, and was one of the plants to which the term "lotus" was applied by Dioscorides and the older authors. The wood, which is compact and hard and takes a high polish, is used for a variety of purposes. C. occidentalis, a North American species, is the hackberry.

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