Tree to 25 m. Branchlets slightly pubescent, reddish to blackish brown; lenticels prominent. Stipules absent. Leaves deciduous, 6–10 × 3–5 cm, narrow or broadly ovate, papery, upper surface glabrous, lower surface glaucous or pale green, with some pubescence restricted to the veins, four to six secondary veins on each side of the midvein, margins serrate, though often entire near the petiole, apex acuminate; petiole furrowed, 0.2–0.7 cm long, somewhat pubescent. Flowers arranged in densely clustered cymes. Infructescences unbranched, to 2 cm. Fruit solitary, ellipsoidal to globose, 1.1–1.4 cm diameter, orange-yellow. Ohwi 1965. Distribution JAPAN: Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku; NORTH KOREA (?); SOUTH KOREA. Habitat Deciduous forest between 200 and 1100 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 5–6. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration NT229. Cross-reference K307.
Celtis jessoensis is grown in several collections but is not common, despite having been cultivated at the Arnold Arboretum since 1892 (Dirr 1998), and for a long time at the Arboretum National des Barres. Descendants of the originals at the Arnold Arboretum are c.20 m tall, forming upright to spreading trees with good dark foliage and apparent freedom from pests. Although somewhat suspicious of the merits of Asian Celtis, Dirr accepts on the basis of observations of these specimens that C. jessoensis has ‘a genuine place in the landscape’ (Dirr 1998). This would seem to be borne out by a 6 m roadside specimen at Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, that is growing well though battered by factors incidental to its position, such as power-company pruning and reversing cars (A. Bunting, pers. comm. 2006). A specimen at the University of Utrecht Botanical Garden, grown from seed from Les Barres in 1963 (H. Persoon, pers. comm. 2006), was 8 m in 2005, forming a rounded tree from two stems. The foliage is a dull dark green, giving it a rather sombre appearance. There are several at Kew, grown from BECX 242, collected in 1982 in Gyeonggi-do Province, South Korea. The tallest of these is 4 m, branching from 60 cm.