Thursday, August 25, 2011

What an Odd Tree!

The Ackee fruit is really pretty!

Arturo was the first one to comment on how odd the tree in the front of our house was. I noticed it but as I was not that familiar with tropical plants and the species, I just never thought that much about it. However Arturo and I did discuss how pretty the fruits and seeds were and pointed them out to the architects who didn't know what it was either. We actually discussed  if we should try to save this tree. I took some photos of the fruits and when I returned to US and did some internet research on it.
According to my research the tree is the Ackee, a native to West Africa that was brought to the Caribbean, first Jamaica, than Barbados and Haiti and Cuba. Mexico is not even mentioned! The national dish of Jamaica is Ackee and saltfish.
There is more to it than just pick the fruit. Parts of it are highly toxic. Only the arils around the seeds are edible and an unopened Ackee fruit must never be opened as it all is toxic. The pod has to open naturally in order to have the one little part edible! The tree produces fruit 2X per year.
Ripe Ackee
So how did this tree get to our house in Mexico? The previous owners were not Jamaican, or Cuban or Barbadian or even Haitian... I guess we will never know. And I'm not sure I comfortable having a toxic fruit tree in my front yard on a street with children... so Arturo, let David and Roger know... CUT IT DOWN!
I'll need to find something else with some color!

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