Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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hackberry also called sugarberry or honeyberry, is the fruit of the nettle tree, of the genus Celtis. The trees are quite large, but belong to the same family as the ordinary nettle. C. australis is native to N. Africa, but has been grown in Europe from ancient times, mainly for shade or to provide fodder for cows. Where it grows, the fruit is often eaten, raw, but it is not seen in many markets.

The fruit, which is sweet, resembles a small cherry: it may be yellow, brown, purple, or black. It has been suggested that it was the lotus eaten by the indolent lotus-eaters of Homer’s Odyssey; but a more plausible candidate is the jujube.