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Chinese celtis

Native to Asia, Chinese celtis is a fast-growing, deciduous tree. It forms dense infestations along creekbanks and prevents native riparian vegetation from regenerating. It also sucks up water and can affect populations of native animals through habitat destruction.

Chinese celtis has naturalised throughout most of South East Queensland.

Chinese celtis is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Celtis sinensis


  • Deciduous tree up to 20m tall.
  • Bark is smooth, silver-grey.
  • Leaves are oval, dark green, glossy, with paler underside and pronounced veins, 4-7cm long.
  • Berries are  small, orange, 7-8mm in diameter.


  • Grows in clay soils associated with creek flats and gullies.
  • Forms dense infestations along riverbanks.


  • Found in most of South East Queensland.
  • Widespread in Brisbane due to cultivation as shade tree and garden plant.

Life cycle

  • Flowers in spring.
  • Produces thousands of berries.

Affected animals

  • Native animals



  • Forms dense infestations and prevents regeneration of native riparian vegetation.
  • Destroys habitats of native animals.

How it is spread

  • Seeds spread by birds, flying foxes and water.


Physical control

  • Remove when small.
  • Hand-pull or dig out small seedlings.
  • Combine dozing, burning and controlled grazing for large infestations.

Herbicide control

  • Herbicides are effective for larger plants.

See the Chinese celtis fact sheet (PDF, 1.2MB) for herbicide control and application rates.

Biological control

  • No known biological control agents.

Legal requirements

  • Chinese celtis is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit.
  • The Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
  • At a local level, each local government must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in its area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

Further information