Epiphyllum Bonus

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them”.


That’s Matthew 7:20 in the King James Version.  The KJV?  Of course.  I lost my faith in Christianity over sixty years ago, but my faith in the KJV is ineradicable.

Close readers will recall that my previous post ended with a photo of an Epiphyllym that had somehow bloomed for me with the traditional one-night-only display although this one had a much smaller,  less showy, and nowhere near as odiferous blossom than that on a previous Epiphyllum that perfumed the whole house when it opened some years ago.

When my current Epiphyllum bloomed for the first time last year, i noticed that afterwards a couple of green lumps the size of large olives had appeared on the stems.  How strange, i wondered, are these rock-hard lumps a burgeoning of the stem that will herald new growth?

They couldn’t possibly be fruit since we all know that the Epiphyllums are pollinated in the night by a species of moth equipped with the required especially long tongue or whatever you call the damn thing on a moth that they stick into flowers, and there’s no way that one of those moths could have fasted its way thousands of miles north to San Francisco just to feed on my Epiphyllum.

So i just watched those lumps for ten months, and nothing happened.  Same size, same shape, same color, same hardness. Nothing to see here, folks.

And then, when the plant bloomed this year i was hovering over it and those lumps again came to my attention.

While ago i reached out and grasped one, and noticed a change. Still the same green color, size, and shape, but now it was soft.  What in the world? i wondered.  Being a guy and thus more curious than cautious, i pulled it off and bit into it.  Wow!

Yep. It’s a fruit. Quite good tasting, too.  So i ate it.  And immediately wolfed the other one.  Because it was there.  And then got to thinking about questions of nutrition.  And the opposite.  After all, everyone who thrashes around dying horribly from eating Amanita mushrooms groans that they were delicious.

So i went online and discovered that while i can’t figure out which of the 19 species of the Epiphyllum genus i have, some are described as having edible fruit.  But nowhere was it mentioned that they take a whole year to ripen, nor could i find any species that were called toxic, so i’m probably off the hook.

I’ll just do this post while i wait for symptoms.

In the interest of forensics, here are photos of the fruit of this species, whatever it is.  Oh, and obviously this particular species does not require a special moth to pollinate it.

Epiphyllum fruit in situ

Epiphyllum fruit

Epiphyllum fruit

Yes, but it doesn’t taste like a kiwifruit.


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  1. Mark Nicholas
    Posted 5 August 2015 at 14:34 | Permalink

    I want some:-)

    • Posted 5 August 2015 at 14:43 | Permalink

      Two pieces of good news: 1)I’ve demonstrated that it’s not poisonous. 2) It set only one fruit this year, but i’ll share it with you when it ripens next summer. That way there’ll be yet another person in SF in the highly select group who can claim to have eaten Epiphyllum fruit.

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