Shrubs , to 3 m; crowns rounded. Bark gray, smooth. Branches spreading, flexuous, whitish gray, with thorns, puberulent; thorns single or in pairs, 3-25 mm. Leaf blade ovate to ovate-oblong, to 2-3 × 1.5-2 cm, thickish, margins entire or crenate-dentate, apex rounded to acute; surfaces scabrous. Inflorescences cymes, 3-5-flowered, longer than petiole, flowers mostly staminate on proximal branches, terminal flower bisexual. Drupes orange, yellow, or red, ovoid, 6-7 mm; pedicel 1-2 mm.
Flowering late winter-spring (Mar-May). In deserts, canyons, mesas, washes, foothills, thickets, brushland, and grassland near gravelly or well-drained sandy soil; 1000-1300 m; Ariz., Fla., N.Mex., Tex.; Mexico; Central America; South America (to n Argentina).
Celtis pallida is closely related to C . iguanaea (Jacquin) Sargent from Mexico. Reports of C . iganaea from Florida and Texas are unconfirmed. Celtis iguanaea can be identified by its longer leaves (to 4 cm wide), small fruits (4-5 mm), and single thorns. Its fruits have acid, juicy pulp.
Plant: large shrub; to 3 m tall, with thorns to 2.5 cm long; branches zigzag; bark gray, smooth Leaves: evergreen; blades ovate to elliptic, symmetrical or nearly so, to 3(-4) cm long and 2(-2.3) cm wide, green above and below, thickish, without insect galls, the base rounded but sometimes slightly notched, the apex rounded to acute, mucronate or sometimes with a tiny apical notch; margin entire basally, then often crenate to serrate apically, a tooth often mucronate; veins not reticulate, the basal set of axils bearing domatia (small pits in which insects and arachnids often live); surfaces scabrous, the abaxial hairs many both on and in between veins with those between veins erect to appressed, antrorse, and weakly pustular INFLORESCENCE: uniflorous or small cymes or fascicles, appearing with new leaves Flowers: with pedicels, staminate near the base of the new spring growth, distally pistillate, the intermediate flowers sometimes perfect; calyx lobes usually 5-6, distinct nearly to the base; stamens 4-5, exserted, non-functional and usually shorter in pistillate flowers; pistil reduced in staminate flowers; styles 2, plumose Fruit: DRUPES spherical to ovoid, orange, yellow, or red, 3-5 mm in diameter, on pedicels 1-5 mm long; the stones thick-walled Misc: Usually in desert washes and riparian floodplains, often forming thickets; 400-1200(-1700) m [1300-4000(-5600) ft.]; fl. buds year-round, fl. Mar-Nov (especially Mar-Jun), fr. year-round, especially Apr-Jul and Nov-Jan References: L. Benson & R. Darrow. Trees and Shrubs of the Southwestern Deserts. Kearney & Peebles. Arizona Flora. ASU specimens. Brasher, Jeffrey W. 2003. Ulmaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. Volume 35(2).