Hackberry, sugarberry, honeyberry
(Celtis sp. family Ulmaceae)
Hackberries are the fruit of a large nettle tree. One species, native to North Africa, has been grown in Europe from ancient times as a shade tree and fodder for cows. The fruit is almost always eaten locally and rarely for sale in markets. The berry is sweet and resembles a small cherry that may be yellow, brown, purple, or black. It has been suggested that it was one eaten by the lotus-eaters of Homer’s Oddysey, but that was more likely the jujube. Another species,C. occidentalis, is a similar tree native to the US and bearing fruits which have a better reputation than those of the Mediterranean species. The Chinese hackberry (C. sinensis) also bears edible fruits, and the leaves are also used as food.