Tuesday, November 2, 2010

(Day 306) 'Exotic' weed ?

I was out in the back yard this morning waiting around while Sasha was doing the doggy thing so I could clean up (ah, the life of a dog lover - it's not all fun and games, you know). I was looking at our bougainvillea which has grown into a large plant and which is currently full of flowers. On another fence I noticed a strange looking orange 'fruit' hanging from a vine that covered most of the fence. It reminded me of a Japanese lantern, a plant we had in the garden at home many years ago. I made a mental note to come back later with the camera.

In the late afternoon I came back for another look and discovered they were also growing all over the ficus hedge at the back. I also noticed that the 'fruit' I had seen in the morning was now split open and showing bright red seeds. The ants and wasps had also found them - I suspect they had been waiting around for them to open. I made some photos and then tried to find some information on them. After much sleuthing, I found out what they were - 'balsam apples' - although I've never seen apples looking like these. And I was right to think that they were weeds - they're prolific growers. I think I'll wait a few days, though, before I remove them - the ants and wasps looked like they were having such a good time.

(60mm  f14  1/3 sec  ISO200)

(60mm  f22  1/2 sec  ISO200)


teca said...

I unfortunately have never seen anything like it. Seems a little plant with very pretty and very red seed. How beautiful!

Honey, see you around. I have to go...

Kisses and colorful flowers!


Scott said...

Apples huh? How did they taste? They sure look pretty, but if it is a prolific weed you need to get rid of it as best you can.

The Whimsical Gardener said...

Are you living in Florida for the winter? It will be interesting to see the changes in your photography as you no longer have the fall color and cool weather changes...Lucky you to get to experience both! Nice rich color in these shots!

Alexander DeLarge said...

Always catching so stunning colours! And very interesting textures.

Greetings, Alex.

Dawn said...

"Weeds" are sometimes the most beautiful!
Love the color of this.
You have quite the way of capturing things:)
Thanks for sharing.....again!!

Rick said...

@teca - I'm not sure if they grow down in Brazil - they sure don't up in Canada @ Thanks you for dropping by teca, and muitos beijos !

@Scott - apparently the seeds are poisonous (in large quantities) but the flesh is used in stews (haven't tried that yet !). I'll be getting rid of it real soon !

@The Whimsical Gardener - we hope to spend a significant portion of winter here. We saw a lot of beautiful fall colour on the way down - it's mostly gone at home. Thanks Cat !

Rick said...

@Alexander DeLarge - thanks Alex; I was surprised by how colourful they were and then to find out they're a weed !

@Dawn - I agree - I like some of my 'weed' shots the best. Thanks for the positive comment Dawn; I found this 'weed' quite captivating.

jasmin said...

dear Rick nice photos what I have liked, the small thinking of the other life, the life of the small animals, I do not clear up this year thus and leave many blossoms with seed for the animal world

dear Rick, I could well translate to me, I think only the love can still exist in our existence in this world, in every form, in every Begnung, we should begin ourselves every day where we open the eyes this day with dear thoughts
herzliche Grüße in diese weite Welt von Jasmin

ju-north said...

Wonderful colours! Never seen anything like this here

Bitch said...

Incredible the small world out there!!
And waiting that the dog is making his job, hu?

bicocacolors said...

fantastic and wonderful colors on these pictures!!!
Wow...I never seen anything like this!!

Leovi said...

Great colors, I like red and orange on green background.

marty said...

c'est un très joli fruit qui explose
en graines rouges pour nourrir les
insectes ! la nature est bien faite !
bisous Rick

chasity said...

what a great pod....those colors are superb.

and how lucky for you to be staying in
that warm climate for a while.
is this so you can have a full winter of interesting photo shots??


sounds like a good idea to me.
{{i need to move there for my 365 photoblog}}

have a wonderful and warm day~

joey said...

New to me, Rick, but a fun colorful subject. Thanks for sharing.

Hope said...

To bad you have to pull it.. for it is indeed a very interesting and beautiful plant..

imac said...

Strange Rick, but wonderful colour.

Costea Andrea Mihai said...

are tasty? :) superb colors!! regards

Rick said...

@jasmin - I haven't removed any of these 'weeds' yet - I'll let the insects have their autumn feast first. Viele Grüße !

@ju-north - I hadn't either, till I came down to the sub-tropics.

@Bitch - yes it is a beautiful world when seen up close. As for the dog - she didn't care ;-)

Rick said...

@bicocacolors - thank you Elena; amazing what is out there !

@Leovi - thank you Leovi - I agree that nature makes a very nice contrast with these colours.

@marty - thank you marty - yes, an amazing 'exploding' weed ! I'm having fun discovering all these 'strange' things here in the sub-tropics. 1,000 + bisous pour toi !

Rick said...

@chasity - thank you Chas; we've decided to try living in the sub-tropics for a while - escape the snow, ice, cold ... although I do enjoy the odd good blizzard - seems to bring out the best in people (like adversity). I'll see what it does for the photography ;-)

@joey - me too joey; it doesn't grow up in our cold(er) northern climes.

@Hope - I haven't. yet. From what I've read though it will continue to spread over everything - so it will have to go. soon.

Rick said...

@imac - yes, I'm getting used to expecting 'strange' things here in the sub-tropics; thanks mac.

@Costea Andrea Mihai - from what I've read, certain parts can be cooked and eaten. I don't think I'll be trying it soon, however. Thanks Costea.

Katherine said...

A weed it may be but doesn't it make for an interesting photo...so colourful!

Photog Ave said...


Rick said...

@Katherine - I think some of my favourite plants turn out to be weeds !

@Photog Ave - I pulled off one of the seed pods - it stank ! But yes, cool ! Thanks Avery.

Anonymous said...

the scientific name for this amazing plant is Momordica balsamina it could be turned into a tea Jamaican cerassee is native to Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean area. Jamaican cerassee was introduced to Brazil by African slaves and from there Jamaican cerassee spread to the rest of Latin America and the West Indies. Today Jamaican cerassee is a staple in Jamaica, where Jamaican cerassee grows wild. Jamaican cerassee also grows wild in Asia where Jamaican cerassee is used medicinally, and as a vegetable. A Jamaican cerassee tea made of the vine is used for diabetes, hypertension, worms, dysentery, and malaria and as a general tonic and blood purifier. Jamaican cerassee is also very effective to relieve constipation and colds and fevers in children.

The Jamaican cerassee fruit does not have any Jamaican cerassee seeds. A climbing annual Jamaican cerassee plant cultivated in gardens for the sake of its ornamental Jamaican cerassee fruit, which is of a rich orange red color, ovate attenuated towards each extremity, angular, warty, not unlike a cucumber. The name is derived from Mordio, to bite, so called from the bitten appearance. The Jamaican cerassee plant has not been examined qualitatively. A liniment is made by adding the pulped Jamaican cerassee fruit (without the Jamaican cerassee seeds) to almond oil. This is useful for piles, burns, chapped hands, etc. The pulp is also used as a poultice. The fluid extract is used for dropsy. Caution is required in administering large doses resulting in death. A dose of 6 to 15 grains is apt for any one dose.

Jamaican cerassee, a wild variety of Momordica charantia is traditionally prepared as a Jamaican cerassee tea for the treatment of diabetes mellitus in the West Indies and Central America. To investigate a possible hypoglycemic effect, concentrated aqueous extracts of Jamaican cerassee were administered to normal and streptozotocin diabetic mice. In normal mice, intraperitoneal administration of Jamaican cerassee improved glucose tolerance after 8 hr, and in streptozotocin diabetic mice the level of hyperglycemia was reduced by 50% after 5 hr. Cchronicoral administration of Jamaican cerassee to normal mice for 13 days improved glucose tolerance. The Jamaican cerassee extracts did not significantly alter plasma insulin concentrations, suggesting that Jamaican cerassee may exert an extra pancreatic effect to promote glucose disposal. Jamaican cerassee is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, Calcium and Iron and in their natural form; these vitamins and minerals are easily absorbed by the system, strengthening the bones thereby avoiding osteoporosis. Following a proper diet with the right amounts of minerals, vitamins and regular intake of Jamaican cerassee will reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Jamaican cerasee's high concentration of Calcium and other bone-friendly minerals and vitamins help the body increase bone density.

Rick said...

Thank you anonymous - that's a treasure-trove of information. I had no idea of the medicinal value of this plant ! Thank you for dropping by and leaving the information - I hope others find it as fascinating as I have.

Leslie Rookey said...

The Cerasee plant is beautiful and beneficial. The little red seeds taste nutty. I understand they can be juiced or used in cooking. The leaves are dried and steeped to make a tea (bush tea). It's a bitter taste that many Jamaican's add brown sugar and ginger too. The leaves and flowers can be used in baths for clearing skin, or used to make an extract.The plant does grow like a weed most the year. One good freeze and the plant dies back till Spring.

Gary Smith said...

THANK YOU!!!! My mother passed away in 2010. Our daughter late 30's and I decided to go through MomMom's bag of seeds. My mother had little bags marked with what seed was in the bag. Some had dates of 1983! I was shocked when I saw a bag marked Korean Seeds. I thought that plant was something I would never see or know what it was. I remembered vividly the delicate vine she would carefully brace because the vine was very thin and the fruit very heavy. She started them in pots in March in PA and the plant would go outside after the last frost. They were beautiful! I googled all kinds of word combinations to see the images. Yours popped up and I immediately knew that was what my mother had grown many years ago. She was a rehab nurse and traveled into homes to do evaluations and how she obtained the seeds. I have no idea how she came up with Korean plant as a name and sadly, will never know.

I just planted seeds and thanks to you, I now have a much better grip on what I hope will grow. I'm optimist!