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More things in heaven and earth - A little less than a happy high — LiveJournal
More things in heaven and earth
I've been passing a tree on my walk home that's loaded with fruit that both intrigue and frighten me. They resemble cherries, complete with pits, but have a flesh that's far softer and roughly the color of mango. Stranger, the skin is a bit tough and spiky. For lack of identification, I've just been calling them space cherries.

So, what gives? Can any of you identify them, and if so, are they edible?
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inahandbasket From: inahandbasket Date: September 22nd, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I noticed a tree of them this morning myself.
Not sure at all what they are. They remind me of something but I can't quite dredge it out of the depths of my brain.
_meej_ From: _meej_ Date: September 22nd, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's the fruit of a Cornus kousa (Chinese or Kousa Dogwood.) Look forward to lovely greenish-white "flowers" (they're actually the flower bracts - the botanical flower is the little tiny thing in the middle of them) in the early summer.

They're edible, though I've never actually tasted one, so I can't say if they're any good - just not poisonous.

When in doubt, ask a landscape architect :-)
wanderyng1 From: wanderyng1 Date: September 22nd, 2008 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
They taste a bit like melon, but they're generally ripe around midsummer. At this point in the year they're probably well past their prime.
prosicated From: prosicated Date: September 22nd, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Though given the distance between VA & MA, is there some chance that they're a few weeks behind the schedule you mention? I've just started seeing them poking around leaves and falling off branches in the last week... (I am, rudely, assuming you know them from C'ville and not from up here, feel free to ignore me if I'm wrong.)
Also, why am I not surprised that you know what they taste like? =)
wanderyng1 From: wanderyng1 Date: September 22nd, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
No no, you're quite right. Sometimes I forget the huge difference 500 miles make on ripening seasons and such, good call. It's entirely possible that if they're only just now falling off the branches that this is the right season for them up here.

You're not surprised because you know me well :)
I once tried to collect enough of them to make sorbet, but I lost interest when I found out my dad had hosed the tree down with pesticide.
prosicated From: prosicated Date: September 22nd, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Geography ftw!
I've always avoided trying them because I had no idea how the random home owners might have treated them, but I am very curious.
There's a few local folk who run tours of the Camberville area and point out wild and cultivated plants one can eat or harvest from in varying seasons, and I always want to go, but never do. Mayhaps we should try some time?
wanderyng1 From: wanderyng1 Date: September 22nd, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
That sounds awesome, and since I don't know the local flora as well as I do the plants of Virginia that would be an excellent way to get up to speed. Perhaps the weekend after apple picking?
komos From: komos Date: September 22nd, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Urban foraging? I'm in.
komos From: komos Date: September 22nd, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I figured one of you would know. ^^

There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of information available on it, sadly. At least, a whole lot besides sites that note that the fruit is edible and pretty readily consumed in Japan, Korea, and China and a couple of others that say that it's edible but "lacking any interesting flavor to humans." The latter sounded like a cop-out to me.

_meej_ From: _meej_ Date: September 22nd, 2008 06:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
The varieties of the tree that get commercially grown and sold have been selected for the "flowers", so it doesn't come as much surprise to me that even if they're commonly eaten where they grow natively, the ones that tend to show up in gardens aren't necessarily tasty.

Still, that did sound like a weak way of putting that.

In any case, now it's got me curious - I'll have to try one sometime. And I can't figure out why anyone would need to spray a Kousa with pesticides - one of the main reasons they get planted in preference to the native (and prettier-flowered) dogwood is that they're very pest-resistant on their own...
komos From: komos Date: September 23rd, 2008 08:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really want to make jelly.
From: pipibluestockin Date: September 22nd, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
They look like Lychee fruit to me. Are we talking about the same fruit?

If we are, definitely edible.
_meej_ From: _meej_ Date: September 22nd, 2008 09:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nope, not the same fruit - not if Komos found it growing around here. Lychees won't grow in this climate (too cold).
They do look a lot alike, though, I'll grant that. (I believe the leaves look very different, though I'm not too familiar with Lychee trees, since, well, they don't grow up here.)
From: pipibluestockin Date: September 22nd, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh right, tropical fruit. (Grows in northern Australia and other parts.) I wasn't even thinking of climate differences.

I wouldn't recognise the leaves either.
stochasticgirl From: stochasticgirl Date: September 22nd, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whoa, you have smart LJ friends.

(I was going to say they look vaguely like lychees, but I like the sound of "space cherries" more.)
oxlahun From: oxlahun Date: September 22nd, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was going to say the same thing. So not all of his LJ friends are smarter than you. :)
komos From: komos Date: September 22nd, 2008 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
...says my LJ friend at the JPL.

It was my initial thought as well, but thought otherwise when I tore into the skin.
hieeee From: hieeee Date: September 28th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC) (Link)

space cherries

peter . . . i think i've seen said cherries. yikes. just run next time :)

i haven't been on this site in so long . . . am not really the blogger i used to be, but i believe this may be changing right now.

fact is . . . i miss you, peter.

i hope and pray that your life is as good as i always knew it would be.

*huggles and mushiness*
komos From: komos Date: September 29th, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: space cherries

I've been wondering what you've been up to. I had tried dropping you an email not too long ago, but I think I munged your address. How've you been?

Things are actually really good on my end. ^^
hieeee From: hieeee Date: October 8th, 2008 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: space cherries

things are not good on my end so you need to tell me all about your good stuff! i need to hear it!!! spilllll!
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