Species Profile

Dwarf Hackberry

Scientific Name: Celtis tenuifolia
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2003
COSEWIC Status: Threatened
COSEWIC Status Criteria: Met criteria for Endangered, B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v), but designated Threatened, B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v); C2a(i); D1+2, because it is not at imminent risk of extirpation.
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: A shrub of dry sandy or calcareous alvar woodlands habitats found at only six disjunct and fragmented sites adjacent to the Great Lakes. Fewer than 1000 plants have been documented. Threats include potential loss of habitat due to quarrying operations and sand pit expansion in eastern Ontario sites and significant losses in some years due to beetle infestations.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Special Concern in April 1985. Status re-examined and designated Threatened in November 2003.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2005-07-14

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Dwarf Hackberry

Dwarf Hackberry Photo 1

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Description

Dwarf Hackberry is a small shrub of the elm family that typically grows 1 to 4 m in height, but can reach up to 10 m. It is multi-branched, with stiff twigs and smooth grey bark that becomes ridged and knotted as the plant ages. Its leaves are slightly to entirely toothed with three distinct veins. The edible fruit of the Dwarf Hackberry is orange-brown and globular with a sweet outer layer, and contains a single seed. The fruit often remains on the shrub throughout the winter.

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Distribution and Population

Dwarf Hackberry is restricted to North America and ranges from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic piedmont and coastal plain. In the northern extent of its range, the species distribution becomes fragmented, with about 20 disjunct (separate) populations in the lower Great Lakes region. Six of these isolated populations occur in southern Ontario. It has been found in the Port Franks area, Point Pelee, Pelee Island, Point Anne, and at two sites in the Belleville area. It is estimated that the Canadian population consists of about 893 individual plants.

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Habitat

Dwarf Hackberry grows in dry, sandy sites with open woodlands near lakeshores and rivers, and in dry, calcareous (clay-loam soils over limestone bedrock) sites near open woodlands.

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Biology

Dwarf Hackberry is a sun-loving, drought-tolerant, perennial woody plant. It is monoecious (both male and female flowers on the same plant), and is wind-pollinated. Flowers appear in late May to early June, singly or in clusters. The fruit matures in late summer and is mostly bird-dispersed, although mammals, such as Raccoons, are also known to eat it. Dwarf Hackberry can live up to between 40 and 64 years, depending on its location. In more dynamic sites, it is likely to be short-lived due to storms and rising lake levels. Dwarf Hackberry grows in areas where Common Hackberry is also found, and there may be hybridization between these two native species. Dwarf Hackberry is an important host plant for butterflies, gall insects, twig borers, bark beetles, and scale insects. Several rare insects, including beetles that have recently been identified in Canada, also depend upon the Dwarf Hackberry for part of their life cycles.

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Threats

Habitat loss due to industrial activities, such as limestone quarrying and sand extraction, is the main threat to Dwarf Hackberry in Canada. Bark beetle infestations have been known to cause significant mortality in some years.

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Dwarf Hackberry is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Dwarf Hackberry in Point Pelee National Park is protected by the Canada National Park Act, and individuals at other sites are within provincial parks or a nature reserve owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Dwarf Hackberry (Celtis tenuifolia) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Recovery Team

Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus - Lake Erie Sand Spit Savannas

  • Vicki McKay - Chair/Contact - Parks Canada
    Phone: 519-322-2365  Fax: 519-322-1277  Send Email

Napanee Plain Alvar Recovery Team

  • Todd Norris - Chair/Contact - Government of Ontario
    Phone: 613-531-5728  Send Email

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Recovery Progress and Activities

Summary of Progress to Date Broad recovery approaches or strategies for the Dwarf Hackberry, across a portion of its range, have been included in An Ecosystem-based Recovery Strategy for the Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus – Lake Erie Sand Spit Savannas in Canada. This recovery strategy pertains specifically to the Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus, however other species at risk of federal and provincial significance are associated with the recovery strategy, including the Dwarf Hackberry. Summary of Research/Monitoring Activities Inventories of the Dwarf Hackberry and other species at risk have been undertaken within its habitat. Monitoring and mapping of this species’ habitat also are underway. Volunteers from the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC) Conservation Volunteers program have assisted the NCC in their inventory of the Dwarf Hackberry on their property at Port Franks. Ecological Land Classification (vegetation community type) mapping has been undertaken at the Lake Erie Sand Spit Savanna sites where the Dwarf Hackberry is found. Detailed monitoring of the Point Pelee National Park population is planned for the summer of 2007. The information obtained from these surveys will be used to update a Managed Area Assessment of the status of Dwarf Hackberry at Point Pelee National Park. Summary of Recovery Activities Workshops and alvar field tours are contributing to increased public awareness and participation in stewardship planning. URLs Ontario’s Biodiversity: Species at Riskhttp://www.rom.on.ca/ontario/risk.php?doc_type=fact&lang=&id=53

Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

17 record(s) found.

Reports on the Progress of Recovery Document Implementation

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Dwarf Hackberry Celtis tenuifolia in Canada (2003-11-01)

    Dwarf hackberry (Celtis tenuifolia) is a small tree or shrub of the Elm family with stiff, often divaricately branched twigs and grey bark. Its leaves are variably toothed along the terminal part of the blade. Its globose, orange-brown fruit has a sweet outer layer and contains a single seed; the fruit often remains on the trees through the winter. Common hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) also occurs through much of its range in Ontario.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Dwarf Hackberry (2004-10-22)

    A shrub of dry sandy or calcareous alvar woodlands habitats found at only six disjunct and fragmented sites adjacent to the Great Lakes. Fewer than 1000 plants have been documented. Threats include potential loss of habitat due to quarrying operations and sand pit expansion in eastern Ontario sites and significant losses in some years due to beetle infestations.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Dwarf Hackberry (Celtis tenuifolia) in Canada (2011-09-02)

    Dwarf Hackberry (Celtis tenuifolia), designated as Threatened in Canada, is a small, stiffly-branched, tree. It typically reproduces sexually and requires fruit-eating birds for long-distance seed dispersal. A number of species depend on it and other hackberry species for their life cycles.

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for Point Pelee National Park of Canada and Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada (2016-07-05)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Point Pelee National Park of Canada and the Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of the two sites: Point Pelee National Park of Canada (PPNP) and the Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada (NNHS). The NNHS is being used as a term to collectively refer to two locations in the Niagara region that consist of three National Historic Sites: Fort George National Historic Site, Battlefield of Fort George National Historic Site, and Butler’s Barracks National Historic Sites of Canada. The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species At Risk Act (SARA s.47) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur in these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at PPNP and at NNHS.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2004-10-19)

    The Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of wildlife species done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 139, number 15, 2005) (2005-07-27)

    The Minister of the Environment is recommending, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), that 43 species be added to Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. This recommendation is based on scientific assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and on consultations with governments, Aboriginal peoples, wildlife management boards, stakeholders and the Canadian public.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2004 (2004-09-16)

    2004 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#PP-2013-15254), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2013-10-28)

    From 2013-2016, Point Pelee National Park (PPNP) staff will propagate dwarf hackberry seedlings from seeds collected within the beach and interior Lake Erie Sandspit Savannah (LESSS) restoration sites. From mid-October to end of December in 2013 and 2014, qualified Parks Canada staff will collect dwarf hackberry seeds. Standard and approved methods of seed collection and handling will be used (i.e. dry fruits will be hand plucked/knocked from parent plant and placed into labelled paper bags in a mouse-resistant container in a cool, dry area in the Visitor Centre). No more than 10% of the available seeds will be collected from any individual. Other dwarf hackberry components or whole trees will not be harvested. Once the seeds are cold treated for a couple of months, they will be treated with a short hydrochloric acid bath or other appropriate seed scarification method. Seeds will then be planted into plugs or cold storage frames, grown to the appropriate seedling size, and then transferred to the restoration sites in late spring. To protect plants from getting diseases, unhealthy plants will be destroyed and surviving plants will be moved to a different area. No unhealthy plants will be planted in restoration sites to prevent the spread of potential diseases. As the Recovery Strategy states that browsing from land snails (and other animals) may cause the death of seedlings, the young plants will be initially protected by cages and regularly checked. Parks Canada staff will be aware of potential nearby hibernacula, environmentally or culturally sensitive sites, and other species at risk (SAR) when collecting seeds to minimize disturbance to these sites/SAR. Trampling of understory plants will be avoided. No dwarf hackberry seeds, seedlings, and/or other plant materials will leave PPNP (i.e. to ensure no new diseases and/or introduced species affect the dwarf hackberry population or enter the park's ecosystem). No significant potential adverse effects are anticipated from the project activities.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#PPNP-2013-15), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2014-10-20)

    Parks Canada staff and contractors will be affecting individual species at risk trees when annually mowing grass and/or herbaceous vegetation, trimming woody vegetation, and removing vegetative debris along roadsides in Point Pelee National Park. These trees include the Common Hoptree, Dwarf Hackberry, Red Mulberry, Kentucky Coffee-tree and Butternut.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#PPNP-2013-15), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2017-11-01)

    Parks Canada staff and contractors will be affecting individual species at risk trees when annually mowing grass and/or herbaceous vegetation, trimming woody vegetation, and removing vegetative debris along roadsides in Point Pelee National Park. These trees include the Common Hoptree, Dwarf Hackberry, Red Mulberry, Kentucky Coffee-tree and Butternut.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#PPNP-2015-21938), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2014-12-12)

    All previous mapping and identification studies will be used to conduct fieldwork to locate, tag, and collect genetic samples from a representative sample of Dwarf Hackberry and Common Hackberry trees on the PPNP mainland. Only 10% of seed set per tree will be collected and immediately stored in paper bags for shipping. Seed bags will be labeled with the location, tree ID, date, and name of sampler. All seeds harvested from one specimen will be stored in the same bag. Seed samples will be transported to Tyler Smith at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Ottawa via Purolator. Seeds will be destroyed when DNA extraction is attempted during lab work. All unused seeds will be returned to PPNP in labeled paper bags for storage.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#PPNP-2016-23356), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2016-11-20)

    This field work is being conducted to locate, tag, and collect genetic samples from a representative sample of Dwarf Hackberry and Common Hackberry trees on the mainland of Point Pelee National Park of Canada. A maximum of 10% of seed set per tree will be collected and immediately stored in paper bags for shipping. Seed bags will be labeled with the location, tree ID, date, and name of sampler. All seeds harvested from one specimen will be stored in the same bag. Seed samples will be transported to Tyler Smith at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Ottawa via Purolator. Seeds will be propagated at the lab and leaves used for DNA extraction. All unused seeds and seedlings will be returned to the park. Park staff will collect seeds and leaves from plants deemed to be representative of Dwarf Hackberries in the park.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#PPNP-2019-02), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-09-04)

    Point Pelee National Park's (PPNP) Integrated Vegetation Management Plan (2012) provides objectives, guidelines, and strategies for managing vegetation. This plan states the restoration of Lake Erie Sand Spit Savannah (LESSS) habitats is one of the top vegetation conservation priorities for the park. The LESSS is a globally-rare ecosystem that is important habitat for 15 of the federally listed species at risk found in the park. The Restoration of the LESSS will involve 1) mechanical removal of invasive, exotic and native shrubs and trees; 2) prescribed fires in selected areas, brush piles, and/or spot burning invasive, exotic, herbaceous vegetation; 3) hand pulling of invasive, alien, herbaceous vegetation; 4) using herbicides to reduce and/or control invasive, exotic, herbaceous vegetation and to treat the stumps of mechanically removed and/or girdled shrubs/trees; Site specific activities may vary and details are included in each site restoration plan for which individual impact assessments have been conducted. These activities are expected to incidentally harm or kill individuals of Dwarf Hackberry, Hoptree Borer, Five-lined Skink and Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: November 2004 (2004-11-23)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.

Critical Habitat Descriptions in the Canada Gazette

  • Description of critical habitat of Dwarf Hackberry in Point Pelee National Park of Canada (2012-02-04)

    Dwarf Hackberry (Celtis tenuifolia) is a species listed on Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act as threatened. It is a small, deciduous tree that occurs within specific habitat types in the mainland portion of Point Pelee National Park of Canada. Critical habitat for Dwarf Hackberry is identified within the Recovery Strategy for the Dwarf Hackberry (Celtis tenuifolia) in Canada.

Exceptions

  • Public Registry Notice for s.83 Exceptions - Former Camp Ipperwash (2015-03-06)

    As per the Memorandum of Understanding between DND, Environment Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency: 6.1 c) Activities occurring on Defence Establishments that are considered necessary for public safety in accordance with paragraph a) and authorized under the National Defence Act and the Explosives Act are: Remediation of contaminated sites; and Securing, handling, destruction or disposal of unsafe munitions, including unexploded explosive ordnance.
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