Persistent Plumeria

Tiny House’s garden needs quite a bit of attention.  We have not done much since we moved in, firstly because it’s a rental and secondly we won’t be here very long. We have a lovely frangipani (plumeria) in the middle of the garden perched on a rock.  When we moved in it was completely dry without any leaves and had dropped a few large branches which were lying on the ground.  As spring progressed it started producing leaves and lovely fragrant flowers.

It is one of my favorite trees in the garden.  Recently I noticed that one big branch that had fallen (or was broken) off and lying under the tree had also started to sprout leaves.  It is not in the soil at all and has not made any small roots into the ground.  It must just be running on reserves.

I have left it for over a month now and it still keeps on going.  I would like to try to help the poor branch seeing it is so persistent.  Do I put it in a bucket of water or should I just shove the end in the ground?

Time for a little sourness?

After all the sweetness of  Christmas and new year, I think it’s time for a little sour….

The sour plum trees on our farm are now fruiting.  When I say sour, it’s probably the  sourest thing I have ever tasted (and that includes all the crazy sour sweets available these days).  These fruit are chock-full of vitamin C and are enjoyed by birds and animals alike – how the heck they don’t have a sour attack each time they bite one I will never understand.  I have heard that it makes a divine jam or jelly.  I think that may be the only way I would be able to eat this fruit – with a ton of sugar in jam or jelly.  I am always looking for ways to use the natural plants around us on the farm.

The large sour plum (ximenia caffra) is a small tree or shrub with many traditional uses and colourful fruit which attract baboons, fruit-eating birds and various butterflies. The thinly fleshy, oval, attractive fruit are a glossy deep red with white-ish speckles. The larvae of various butterflies including the Natal bar, Silvery bar, Bowker’s sapphire, Saffron sapphire, Brown playboy and Bush scarlet butterfly feed on the leaves of this tree.

Ripe fruit has a vitamin C content of 27%, is high in potassium and contains protein. The seed has a 65% oil content. Fruits have a refreshing (ha right…) sour taste, best eaten when slightly overripe, but can also be used for making jam, dessert and jelly. They can be added to porridge. Oil from the seed is used to soften human skins and for softening animal hides. It is also used for lamps. The nuts are also eaten.

A decoction from the leaves is used as a wash to soothe inflamed eyes. Infusions of the roots are used as a remedy for dysentery and diarrhoea and together with the leaves are taken for abdominal pain and bilharziasis. Powdered roots are applied to sores to speed up healing; used in soup, and in beer as an aphrodisiac. Powdered dried leaves are taken orally for fever and infertility, and extracts of the leaves are used as a gargle for tonsillitis, and as a vermifuge. Porridge is made using a decoction of the roots, and eaten once a day for nausea in pregnancy; the root decoction is also taken for infertility.

I think, from all these uses, I may be able to cope with making the fruit into jam and maybe eating the seed (nut) – I will have to give it a try.

 

 

 

What are these?

For the past few months I have noticed these red tendrils growing on the stems of the pines (casuarina equisetifolia) used as wind breaks on the fruit farms.  They do not grow on all the trees – just a few and they are just on the lower stem near the ground – especially  on the side of the tree getting watered.  I thought that they may be a type of fungus/mushroom but Mr A has suggested that they may be air roots. Once I took the photo I could see that they look more plant-like than mushroomy. Have you seen these before?  What the heck are they? Please forward this to anyone you may think will know as I am dying to find out and my internet searches are producing nothing.

Edit:  If you would like to find the answer, please read the comments on this post.  Thank you Lisa and Georg!