Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A New Plant for Me in Chacala

This afternoon I was walking around town, taking care of some stuff to do with my rental website for Chacala. I was also taking photos, now the I have had the camera surgically attached to my hand. It saves me the effort of taking the camera in and out of it's case.

Anyway, I was taking pictures of Casa Sirena, a kind of an ugly duckling rental that may turn into a swan. I had laid my umbrella and shopping bag (full of ten packets of microwave popcorn (palomita) on one of the neighbor lady's chairs while I took pictures. After I finished with the photos, I sat with her family, and we chatted for a bit. While we were sitting there I noticed a nice healthy plant with strange looking bulbous red fruits on it.

I asked what it was called, and everyone ignored me. I asked again, and realized they were embarrassed. They finally told me the local name, which included the word "gringa". I couldn't make out the rest, and they were laughing so hard I gave up on the name issue. But I did take some photos.

And then tonight I looked the plant up in one of my four plant reference books: "Ornamental Plants and Flowers in Tropical Mexico", written by Linda Abbott Trapp. It turned out the plant is called Fagracea berteroana, or Bishop's Egg. And apparently in Chacala, it's called something obscene, with the word "gringa" in it.

My book says the fragrant, tubular flowers have been used in Hawaiian leis, and that if often starts as an epiphyte or strangler. Didn't say a word about the red round fruit. Also said the plant is mildy toxic. I guess I won't try one. But I might offer a bite to the dog that barks all night long. I wouldn't really do that, but the thought did occur to me.

When I packed up all my cares and woes and moved to Mexico I left behind, sold, or gave away hundreds of books. And about fifty reference books for gardening. And lots of lovely gardening magazines. Oh well. I like the four books I have now, and the internet is a great resource for me. Especially the forums, like Garden Web.

1 comment:

Ki said...

Wow, a brave move to pick up and move to Mexico. I lived in Hawaii and recognize the wound petals opening like the iris of a camera but I don't remember the bright red fruit which you couldn't fail to remember...getting too old I guess.