Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Back from Florida!

I got back in town late Monday night from the trip to FL for the Redlands Orchid Festival in South Florida. It was a good show, but somehow we totally passed the actual show tent. Its kinda small - they don't have displays at this show, only individual plants for awards. But there are something like 60 vendors form 16 countries. Whew! lots to look at! There was a fair amount of sort of average stuff, but also a fair number of good deals and unusual or high quality stuff. Cool t-shirts too!

The festival is held at the Fruit and Spice Park in Homestead. The park has a nice collection of normal and unusual fruit trees and plants. Unfortunately, many of them are not labeled or only have a common name label. The two photos above are from the fruit and spice park. On the left is Pachira aquatica (Guiana chestnut [on label at park], Malabar chestnut, money tree) and on the right is some banana with no ID. They had a nice little Musa forest, including a few dwarf trees, but I don't know their names.

We stayed at the Grove Inn while in the area. They also have many edible plants on their property, including sapote, mango, natal plum, barbados cherry, and passifloras. Its a great little place with a comfortable courtyard (photo at left) with several tables and chairs where we ate breakfast every morning, then chilled with the cats and watched the plentiful anoles skittering around. Below left is a little dude claiming a chair leg as his own. On the right is a house gecko that we found hiding out behind a pink loofah. We really loved this place and I'm already thinking up excuses to go back! I very much prefer the bed & breakfast atmosphere to the ordinary hotel.

One of our other stops was Butterfly World. It was surprisingly expensive to get into this place given its relatively small size, but it did have a moderate collection of tropical passifloras (which is mainly why we went) and a big containment area filled with exotic species of butterflies. At left is a photo of a yellow and black critter resting on my hand. While there I procured seeds from several different passifloras. Maybe later this summer I'll have plants to share with everyone!


Dan said...

Good picture of the Malabar Chestnut in flower and with the fruit in the picture too!

swamprad said...

Good grief! Reading your post made me read up on Passiflora, and I had no idea there was such a diversity of species! In (very) rural South Mississippi, I remember Passiflora incarnata growing wild when I was a boy. It was said you could eat the fruit (the maypop), but I never saw anyone do it.

SapphireChild said...

Hi Swamprad! How are things?

Yes, so P. incarnata is edible, but I can't say it smells attractive to me. However, there are passifloras with much sweeter smelling fruit, such as P. edulis. I don't know how often people eat them straight, but I have seen ice cream made from it and I understand there's passiflora juice behind the "Hawaiian punch" flavor.

P. incarnata is one of the few passifloras that is very hardy and very widespread, although I can't say I've ever seen a wild one. But then, I probably just haven't really been looking. I have them growing in my yard. They're slow to start in the spring, then once they do they're like kudzu. ZOOM!!! Scoff at the Japanese beetles!!! And Taunt them a Second Time! um...

Anyway, I shall pause here to insert commercial. I have Passiflora incarnata and suberosa seed for sale on my Etsy site! :)