plants

Citrus, spp., Unidentified giant lemon variety

This is a large Citrus species. The fruit were given to me years ago when I lived in Panama City's Old Quarter. Almost everyday I would visit a fruit vendor in Santa Ana to buy a small watermelon and a pineapple. He knew I worked with plants and collected fruit species so occasionally we would exchange fruit. I would bring miracle fruit, jaboticaba, jackfruit, curry tree fruit, and others, none of which he had ever seen. Him and his family would bring me highly regarded or lesser known fruit varieties from the interior of the country, giant Nance, Algarrobo (Hymenia coubaril), Mangos.

I never verified the species of this particular Citrus, it looks like some kind of Pomelo / Citron hybrid and has a relatively think skin compared to the size of the fruit. 

Any thoughts on the species?

Edible Condiment Leaves of Southeast Asia

The following is a list of species whose leaves are used as condiments in Southeast Asia. The list is not, by any means, complete, but includes some of the lesser known, more obscure species.

Acacia farnesiana, Cassie flower, Leguminaceae

Achronychia laurifolia, Ketiak, Rutaceae

Aegle marmelos, Bael fruit, Rutaceae

Allium odorum, Chinese chives, Liliaceae

Ancistrocladus extensus, Ox-tongue, Dipterocarpaceae

Antidesma ghaesembilla, Sekinchak, Euphorbiaceae

Begonia tuberosa, Tuberous begonia, Begoniaceae

Claoxylon polot, Rock blumea, Euphorbiaceae

Coleus tuberosus, African potato, Labiatae

Crypteronia paniculata, Sempoh, Lythraceae

Curcuma domestica, Turmeric, Zingiberaceae

Cymbopogon citratus, Lemon Grass, Graminae

Cyrtandra decurrens, Graminae

C. pendula, Rock sorrel, Graminae

Dendrobium salaccense, Cooking orchid, Orchidaceae

Derris heptaphylla, Seven finger, Leguminaceae

Elethariopsis sumatrana, Frangrant gingerwort, Zingiberaceae

Eugenia polyantha, White kelat, Myrtaceae

Evodia roxburghiana, Sour-relish wood, Rutaceae

Gymura procumbens, Akar, Compositae

Homalomena graffithii, Itch grass, Araceae

Hornstedtia, Tepus, Zingiberaceae

Horsfieldia sylvestris, Pendarahan, Myristicaceae

Kaempferia galanga, Chekur (Galangal), Zingiberaceae

Kaempferia rotunda, Kenchur, Zingiberaceae

Leucas lavandulifoia, Ketumbak, Labiatae

L. zeylanica, Ketumbak, Labaiatae

Limnophila aromatica, Swamp leaf, Scrophulariaceae

L. villosa

L. conferta

L. pulcherrima

L. rugosa

Lycium chinese, Kichi, Matrimony vine, Solanaceae

Lycopersicum esculentum, Tomato, Solanaceae

Medinilla crispata, Medinilla, Melastomataceae

M. hasseltii

M. radicans

Mentha longifolia, Longleaf mint, Labiatae

Murraya koenigii, Curry-leaf tree, Rutaceae

Nauclea esculenta, Pincushion, Rubiaceae

Ocimum canum, Hoary basil, Labiatae

Oenanthe javanica, Shelum, Umbelliferae

Ottelia alismoides, Pojnd lettuce, Hydrocharitaceae

Oxalis corniculata, Sorrel, Oxalidaceae

Pilea melastomoides, Sweet nettle, Urticaceae

Piper lolot, Pepper leaf, Piperaceae

P. caducibracteum

P. umbellatum

Pistacia lentiscus, Pistachio resin tree, Anacardiaceae

Pluchea indica, Indian sage, Comppositae

Polygonum hydropiper, Water polygonum, Polygonaceae

Staurogyne elongata, Cross flower, Acanthaceae

Trachyspermum involucratum, Wild celery, Umbelliferae

Rubiaceae, Psychotria poeppigiana, hot lips, labios de puta

BACKGROUND< ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION

Native to the forests of Panama, this photo was taken in Soberania national park on the Pacific Side. The species ranges widely in the tropical Americas, from from Chiapas, OaxacaTabasco and Veracruz in Mexico to the very north of Argentina. It does not occur on the Pacific side of the American cordillera however, and is thus absent from El Salvador and Chile. It is probably also absent from Uruguay and Paraguay.

PROPAGATION AND CULTIVATION

I have propagated this Psychotria poeppigiana from seeds and cuttings collected in the dry tropical forests on the Pacific Coast of Panama.

USES AND ETHNOBOTANY

This species has been used as a hunting fetish, as a magical talisman to  facilitate hunting. The leaves and flowers would be placed in a bundle and tied to the collar of dogs when hunting taipir. In Suriname the plant is crushed then boiled, the resulting liquid can be used as wash for headaches. This same preparation can be used as an external wash for sprains, rheumatism, muscular pains and contusions.

The Wayana indians of Suriname use bark raspings from the stem and rub it on a skin rash known as "poispoisi". The red, sap-filled inflorescence are used for an antalgic to treat earache, administered by dropping the sap into the ear canal. The inflorescence is used to remedy whooping cough.

This species of psychotria has also been used as a P. viridis analogue in ayahuasca, containing significant amounts of DMT.

psychotria-poeppigiana.jpg

Myrciaria floribunda - Rumberry, Guavaberry

A close relative of Camu-camu. This is native to dry and moist coastal forests of tropical America. Bears a small, bright orange berry. The flesh is strongly fragrant. Makes an excellent jam or juice. At Christmas time in parts of the Lesser Antilles (W. Indies) a Guavaberry rum is made. This is a delicious, aromatic, rum-based liqueur that has apparently been brewed for centuries.

M. floribunda is a very slow growing species, rarely found cultivated in its region of origin, although wild trees are typically left in pastures that have been cleared of their vegetation.

I know of a single tree and have harvested fruit once. Bears heavily.

In my experience the small, hard seeds can take a while to germinate. After months of waiting for germination I kind of lost track of them. Eventually I got a few sprouts. A light scarification might prove beneficial in expediting the process. Next season i'll germinate a few dozen, as this is a very uncommon in interesting tree.

Syzygium jambos - Rose Apple

rose-apple-buds.jpg

Originally from Southeast Asia (East India and Malaya) the Rose Apple has been introduced into tropical regions around the world. It is very common in the Caribbean, brought by English colonizers. Apparently it is being grown in the San Francisco area of N. California. The tree grows with a broad, dense canopy, usually relatively small (5 m), but can reach heights of 20 m. The leaves are long and thin.

The name Rose Apple comes from the scent of the flowers and the taste of the fruit, both of which strongly resemble roses, or rose water. The fruit is round, 3 -5 centimeters in diameter and yellow in color, typically eaten raw, but also used in jellies due to the high pectin content. The fruit contains up to 11% sugar and is considered to be a good source of calcium, iron (2 mg/100 g) and niacin (1.1 mg/100 g).

This species makes a great windbreak due to its low, dense growth habit.

rose-apple-flower.jpg

The tree is often wider then it is tall, makes a spectacular ornamental tree, but needs ample space and sun. Although it is somewhat cold hardy, it should be protected from frosts.

Eugenia stipitada - Araza

Thought to be native to the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon, still not very widely cultivated. Araza is typically consumed fresh, used to prepare excellent juices. The flavor and texture is considered to be superior to the guava. The most notable benefits of this species are, A) that it is shade loving. Unlike most fruit trees, Araza prefers at least partial shade. I have seen it growing and producing fruit in the dappled shade of understory, below two canopies. B) Given the right conditions the tree can bear fruit within a year and a half or two years of growth. Once a tree begins bearing it can be depended up on to flower and fruit fairly consistently. C) Fruit are large, seeds are easy to separate. D) The fruit is versatile. Excellent as a base for sauces, juices, and so forth. Usually used for juices. Consumed with Miracle Fruit it is almost disgustingly sweet. Araza is extremely rich in carbohydrates (7%) and vitamin B1.

The tree thrives in humid tropical climates, adapted to at least 2,000 mm annual rainfall and to poor, acidic soils.

Myrciaria cauliflora var. ? - Dwarf jaboticaba

The Jaboticaba originates in Southern Brazil where it is one of the most popular fruits, in some parts of the country this is the most common fruit in markets.

Typically Jaboticaba trees grow from 10 - 12 meters high and can take from 6-8 years to bear fruit when grown from seed, and even longer (8-10) when grown in lower, hotter climates.

The variety photographed below is a dwarf, only about two and a half feet tall, bears three times a year, and has larger leaves then the common Jaboticaba. The skin is thin enough to be eaten. As long as it gets irrigated when fruiting, this particular variety seems to do great in the lowland, dry humid tropics.

This is a stem bearing tree. When it is in full bloom the trunk and thicker branches are covered in an almost fuzz like layer of flowers, then the bulbous fruit appear and grow quite rapidly. It seems to take about 15-20 days from flower to mature fruit on this tree.

I'm trying to grow as many as I can. It's bearing right now (end of April).

Dwarf Jaboticabajpg
Dwarf Jaboticabajpg
Dwarf Jaboticaba Flower
Dwarf Jaboticaba Flower
Dwarf Jaboticaba, young fruit
Dwarf Jaboticaba, young fruit
dwarf jaboticaba fruit
dwarf jaboticaba fruit
Dwarf jaboticaba, fruit
Dwarf jaboticaba, fruit
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dscf63212
Jaboticaba fruit close-up, cross-section
Jaboticaba fruit close-up, cross-section