This tree, which rises to the height of from eighty to ninety feet, with a diameter of eighteen to twenty-four inches, and a trunk straight and undivided for a great height, is supported on all sides by great roots that project two feet or more from the ground. The wood splits very easily, and is of a clear white color; it cannot stand much exposure to the weather. It has been used for inside work, but has been found to warp and become so crooked that its use for that purpose has been discontinued. This is a fine tree, but cannot be safely recommended for cultivation for the sake of its timber, as it is only fit for making fiat barrel-hoops. The bark of this tree is of a grayish color, and covered with asperities which are scattered unevenly over the surface. The flowers, which appear in May, are a small white variety, with a very fine odor. The banks of the Delaware, just above the city of Trenton, New Jersey, may be considered as the northern limit of this tree: it is found in narrow stretches east of the Alleghanies, but west of them it exists profusely all over the broad valleys and rich bottom-lands. The largest tree of this species in the United States stood at Springfield, Massachusetts, and measured fourteen feet around the base.
It is propagated best in layers, but great care should be taken to keep the hackberry moth from eating the leaves and the tender young plants. The moth is a brilliant insect, three and a half inches long, half an inch thick, of a beautiful apple-green color, marked in an artistic manner with white, and shaded with pink.