Saturday, August 08, 2009

Pomegranates and other fruit trees

I was surprised the other day to see vivid red flowers blooming in the garden, not aware that I had planted anything with red flowers. In fact it was the pomegranate that I planted last autumn, and it shows how little I actually know about what I plant. I know what a pomegranate fruit looks like, but hitherto, I had no idea what its flowers looked like.

Indeed, when I first noticed the buds, I thought that they were in fact the fruit, and so I was surprised when they morphed into flowers.

Today I went to the garden rather superior garden shop Tokiwa Garland to pick up the seaberry plants I ordered. One of the two I planted last spring died. The seaberry comes in male and female varieties, and since I forgot which was which, I had to plant one of each again. At Tokiwa Garland, I encountered the Jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora) or 'Kibudo' in Japanese.

This rather bizarre tree has grape-like fruit sticking out of its branches. I rather surreptiously picked a few and popped them in my mouth. They had a slightly sticky, waxy feel which heightened the feeling that one was running a hazard by ingesting them. The inside of the fruit, which pops outside with a spurt when you bite into it, is sweet like a grape but with a custardy texture and also a slight sourness. This is quite a delightful combination. The skin is bitter and I spat it out, along with a couple of largish seeds, although a taste for the skin could probably be acquired. At a price of 10,000 yen for a tree taller than I am with fruit already on it, I'm very tempted to add this one to our growing collection of uncommon fruit.

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