As trees go, the humble Hackberry is much misunderstood . I have a thriving specimen that has been a shade treasure and has grown into a wonder tree. I hear it called a trash tree and is often removed with not much thought.
Here are some thought and history for this noble tree:
The Hackberry, Celtis Laevigata is abundant , has red berries ripening in fall. The berries are good eaten raw, dried or preserved.
Most of our ancestors owe their lives to this lowly tree.
Hackberrie’s were found in the burial of Peking man some 500.000 years ago.
The seed are nutritious also but will break your teeth if you try and chew them!They can be ground, mixed with water and they make a milk much like our now Almond Milk.
The juice and bulk of the berry can be mashed, seeds removed and dried as a leather, the first ” Power Bar”.
So don’t be so fast to ignore this tree, and did I say it is drought tolerant! And with the guidance from my Arborist Brandon Baker, I have trimmed this tree to make it not so scraggly!
They live approximately 30 years and are of a fragile wood thickness which gives them a bad rap when the wind blows.
Here is another Tough native, Texas Persimmon, Diospyros Texana. A small bush, grey bark in color with small fruit ripening in fall. The fruit is only sweet when it turns black. They like partial shade and will be found under larger trees like the Oak. All animals love to eat this plant. The fruit can be eaten raw, dried or preserved and this tough plant is not self fertile, so they need male and female to produce fruit. They are another drought tolerant plant that has fed animal and human for ages! If you find one, they have many seed under them so collect some and grow your own.
Here is another plant from our past but very popular now the Jerusalem Artichoke or the Sun Choke, Helianthus Tuberosus. This family of sunflowers love neglected land making it an excellent plant for guerrilla gardening, grow plant’s where nothing else will grow. Once they are established, in about 2 years you will have a nice patch of Chokes, the tuber. They are fast out growing the potato market, and are excellent raw or cooked and a good food for diabetic’s. I ordered mine from a grower in North Carolin and have a small patch of Chokes growing in the sorriest part of my yard.
If you want more information of the plants of Texas have a look at Foraging Texas.com. This site gives me lists of Native Plants and trees that we often overlook. Take a minute and have a look around you, the Hill Country is rich with a variety of edible plants right at our finger tips!
Growing Green with Jannie and looking for the next great treasure!