"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Leaf of the Day : A Terbinate Fruit

I do like the strange and odd in life and this is a very strange fruit indeed. Although it looks like some bizarre composite it is real, and not just a bad drawing, I promise. I found a few of these fallen "fruit" in Leu gardens and luckily they had fallen next to their name tag. This is the fruit (and a tiny leaf) of Pereskia Grandifolia the Rose cactus. Some of the fruits which had fallen on the floor were linked together like the one I have drawn, originally this one was a chain of three.

I have yet to see the flowers in real life, but they look very pretty from the photos on the Internet. I don't quite understand how the fruit develop in these chains and on the tree at Leu Gardens the leaves grow in an odd way too, straight out of the trunk which in turn has huge ferocious spines.
I have read that the fruits are described as "terbinate with leaflike bracts. Turbinate meaning "like a spinning top or an inverted cone" Originally from Brazil, where it is colloquially called "pray for us", it is a cactus but with edible broad leaves that look just like regular leaves.

It's related to other edible cacti including prickly pears and the amazingly beautiful Dragon fruit which I do hope to find here to draw.I first came across this in Nicaragua served for breakfast in Hostel Oasis in Granada. I had never seen a fruit of such a beautiful colour and only now know what it was.








Dragon fruit

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Pereskia , Rose cactus


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