Yesterday we trudged through 10 inches of snow along the valley creek near the Caldwell pottery, looking for future tree removal work for Matt and Duncan. (There are several trees down along the hillside from previous thinning work and past ice storms.) Suddenly Henry noticed one tree that didn’t look like any of the others. It actually looked more like a beech tree with a similar smooth bark—but they don’t grow here. Then he remembered that John Fleming, the forester doing an inventory for us, noted a sugarberry a clump of fencerow trees.
The sugarberry is related to the hackberry, but doesn’t have so many little bumps on the bark. (I kept thinking it must be something else because the tree really seemed very smooth from a distance.) We did notice small balls at the very tips of the upper branches—fruit of the tree still up there.
A Missouri state champion sugarberry tree is located on the southwestern side of the MU campus by Elm Street.