Often confused with the indigenous Celtis africana, the Chinese Nettle-tree originates from eastern Asia.  Although it has been declared as a Category 3 invasive species in various regions of South Africa, it is still available for sale in Gauteng.

Very similar to the White Stinkwood, the tree is deciduous and can reach a height of up to 20 m.  Fast growing, The Celtis sinensis is a large, spreading tree with smooth, greyish-coloured bark.  Inconspicuous greenish-coloured flowers are produced in spring and are followed by dark orange berries which mature to red-brown during autumn.

The leaves are characteristically dark-green and glossy as opposed to the Celtis africana that has duller, soft-hairy foliage.

Celtis sinensis is a hardy tree that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions.  Drought resistant and tolerant of windy conditions, this tree is often used as a park or avenue tree to provide a windbreak.  The tree is very ornamental, providing dappled shade in summer and showing its beautiful shape and form during winter.  Popular as a specimen tree in larger gardens, care should be taken when positioning the young tree as the root system becomes large and could interfere with paving and buildings.