Home | Arizona y Sonora > Desert wildflowers > Green flowers, etc. > Desert hackberry
Common names: Granjeno.
Shrub, Elm Family.
Inconspicuous flower followed by bright orange berries that ripen during July through September in southern Arizona. Grows on rocky slopes and along washes, sometimes forming thickets. Range extends into the tropics of Mexico, down as far as Argentina. Southern Arizona is the northern limit.
3-8 feet (1-2.5 meters) high, dense, thorny branches and small, oval leaves that are sometimes scalloped. Mostly evergreen, but will drop leaves in a drought or heavy freeze.
The berries are succulent with a single, large seed which is edible. Semi-dry berries taste like a sweet apricot current. They contain niacin and magnesium. Berries were gathered by the Tohono O'odham and the Apaches, eaten fresh or mashed into cakes and dried for the winter. The powdered root was used for sores.
Deer, caterpillars and butterflies eat the leaves. Birds, coyotes, foxes and javelina eat the berries. The thorny, dense branches provide shelter for coveys of quail and nesting white-wing doves.
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