What the Heck is a Hackberry?

Apparently, it’s a tree that really likes our land, as we have quite a few of them. They’re not unusual, and they grow all over the eastern U.S. However, I’d never heard of them–either they’re not common in the suburbs of Ohio where we used to live, or I just never noticed them.

I’d been wondering what the trees on our land were with the spearhead-shaped leaves, but wasn’t able to find anything conclusive in a search with that generic description. Then DH and I were walking one day last week and noticed one of these trees was full of berries. That gave me something else to go on, and I quickly found the Hackberry–and more specifically for us. the Sugarberry.

The wildlife is eatin’ good in our neighborhood!

The Sugarberry is a species of Hackberry specific to the south, and is mostly differentiated by its leaves being narrower, with less serrated edges. And yes, the berries are edible and sweet, though they’re barely larger than peas and contain a good-sized pit so most people don’t bother with them these days, though the native peoples did eat them. Deer and turkeys love them, so they’re welcome here, even though some people consider them a trashy tree. The berries don’t get ripe until fall, so we’ll see then if I decide to try them myself!

The tree in our fairy circle is a Sugarberry

Other than that, this has been one of those weeks where not much has happened. Which is fine, because it was also one of those weeks where I didn’t feel like I got a lot of writing done, but when I looked over my wordcount, I actually did!

What I’ve Been Reading

I’m enjoying a novel that I noticed something very special about, but I’m not yet finished with it, so I’ll share next week.

What I’ve Been Writing


My goal this week was to spend at least 1/2 hour a day, five days, redrafting a scene. I did not finish the scene yet, but I did spend the time and got six days in–and to my surprise, added 2500 words. I also deleted a lot but that’s OK. So this week, we’ll stick with the same–at least 1/2 hour, five days. I want to finish this scene, then continue on with fixes.

My learning goal was to finish my online workshop on how to study fiction. I did that. So this week I want to start a new one, Emotion in Writing. This is something I’ve studied before, but it’s also one aspect of writing I find the most challenging. I’d like to complete the first week’s videos and assignment.

What about you–have you ever heard of the Sugarberry? Or the Hackberry? Ever have one of those weeks where you didn’t think you got much done, only to find out you had done quite a bit? What’s been keeping you busy lately? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might have whether writing or otherwise? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

8 Responses to \

  1. Glad you figured out what that tree was. When I was in Kenya last year, they introduced us to the Loquat tree and its wonderful little fruit. I’ve been wanting to get a couple apple trees in my yard for a few years, but I’m fearful that they wouldn’t survive our winters.

    I do think that I need to add a learning goal to my list, though. I’m always looking at courses on-line, but just never feel like I have the time to commit to it. One of these days.

    Have a great week!

  2. Never heard of that tree. Then again, I’m terrible with flora…
    I currently find it hard to keep track of progress but I do check boxes in Todoist, so I guess it’s not too shabby, maybe even better than I think it is…

  3. I wonder if the birds get drunk on that fruit. When I was a youngster, there was a bush in our backyard (in CA) that would grow berries. The birds LOVED it! Made them drunk. I don’t know what kind of berry bush it was, but it was kind of fun watching the birds. I’ve never heard of a sugarberry or hackberry. Doesn’t mean I haven’t seen them, though!

    My writing kind of came to a stop. I’m hoping to change that today, but we’ll see. I really need to brainstorm with someone, but that apparently isn’t going to happen any time soon. Ugh.

  4. Chris, my husband wants apple trees too. I have a feeling the deer would get most of them! Having a learning goal really helps me if I need to do a last push on Saturday to complete it.

    Rui, I hadn’t heard of it either! I keep track of my progress in a Word doc called Weekly Status Report, cribbed from my day job. It really helps.

    Stacy, I’ll have to watch the birds this fall when the berries ripen. I bet drunk birds were hilarious! I know what you mean with the writing . That’s happened all too much for me with this WIP. Good luck figuring it out!

  5. I’ve heard of hackberry trees but I’m familiar with the desert Hackberry in the southwest. I even made reference to them in one of my books (can’t remember which one, probably On Hallowed Ground). I don’t remember hearing about the berries being edible though. God certainly did provide for his creations didn’t he?

    Thanks for sharing the new information. I love learning new things.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  6. Patricia, cool that you have heard of it and used it in a book! The berries are high in both protein and fat, so the native people often crushed them and rolled them into balls, and took those as trail rations. Thanks for coming by!