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.