[NAFEX] sugarberry

mark wessel growyourown at earthlink.net
Thu Nov 14 22:09:48 EST 2002

on 11/14/02 11:30 AM, Mark Lee at markl at nytec.com wrote:

> Does anyone have experience using Celtis occidentalis, sugarberry, as an
> edible?  I sampled some fruit yesterday.  There was hardly any pulp around a
> large seed the size of a pea.  If that is all there is to this fruit, I
> wouldn't classify it as an edible.  Maybe I'm missing something.  I read
> this morning that the seed is what birds go after, and also the reason it is
> called sugarberry. Any thoughts?
> -Mark Lee, Seattle

   I have sampled three dif. species and none seem to have much in the way
of edible pulp around that seed. It does have a somewhat pleasant taste
slightly similar to the pulp of honey locust. I usually only eat them out of
sheer boredom when working around the trees.
   The gnats Ed is refering to may be a lace bug which seem to infest the
leaves and are always dropping on you. Then there is the larva of all those
butterflies that it host, always crapping on you. Needless to say it isnt
the greatest tree around the house. That being said I love the tree. When
allowed to grow out in the open and develop a broad crown it is an awesome
speciman. The branches  have such nice rounded "elbows" and the flared
trunch is like something you would see in the tropics. Plus the mature bark
can be somewhat beechlike, After a certain age it loses those corky ridges.
    The birds do love them. The other day  a nearby tree was loaded with
Robins and Cedar Waxwings in the middle of a feeding frenzy.
    This species is also very tolerent of harsh conditions, growing on the
poorest most depleatedd sites.
    Dirr states" The name Hackberry is a corruptionof the Scottish Hagberry
which in Britain was the Bird Cherry(Prunus avium)


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