Friday, September 27, 2013

Sound Instincts. Unsound Judgment?

This afternoon, some unusual looking fruits on a small tree on a worksite caught my eye:

I did not know what these fruits were, but their eye-catching reddish-pink color (the picture does not do them justice) caught my attention. They looked like overgrown crunch berries. Now, there is a plant edibility test that one can follow to determine if one can eat a strange plant. Of course, fruits are typically meant to be eaten by animals so that their seeds can be dispersed efficiently over a broad area. With their bright colors, these fruits looked especially noticeable, which usually translates to edible. I grabbed one of the softer ones and noted no adverse reaction. I broke the fruit open and licked the beige pulp, which was sweet... as a matter of fact, quite delicious. Sweet is good, we tend to enjoy the flavors of foods that are good to eat, and most plant toxins are bitter tasting. Of course, I didn't jump in and start scarfing these suckers down, sweet or not. There were a lot of hard seeds, much like the seeds of a cactus pear.

I took an additional fruit into the building in which I am working and, before I was able to look up the plant on the internet, a co-worker was able to identify it as the fruit of the Asian Dogwood (Cornus kousa). She did not think that the fruits were edible, but the Internet, which never lies, indicates that they are. Here's Green Deane's take on the fruit (he also indicates that the young leaves are sometimes eaten in Japan). Here's a nice video about the tree and its fruits:

Sampling this unknown fruit was perhaps a lapse in judgment on my part, but my instincts, which are pretty good, led me to believe that the fruit wouldn't be dangerous. I wouldn't recommend this approach to anybody unless they are desperate for sustenance, but I can now heartily recommend trying the fruit of the Kosua dogwood now that I have verified my suspicions regarding their deliciousness.

ADDENDUM: Now, this is funny... I just looked up at the office calendar, a gift from the nearby Chinese restaurant, and I spy a familiar theme:

I may be easily amused, because this cracks me up.


OBS said...

I think there's one of these in my neighbor's yard.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Shirley the carp wouldn't steer us wrong...

Jim H. said...

Wow! Talk about your Serendipty.

There was a tree of these outside the Blue Ridge Mtns cabin where we stayed a couple weeks ago. I, too, was curious. Picked one. Broke its prickly sort of leathery casing. Sniffed, licked, and tasted. All, of course, against Wisdoc's protestations. Yumm!

No stomach pangs or vomiting. Couldn't find out what it was. Now you've settled it. Thanks!

Smut Clyde said...

You need a "Helping fish" tag.
Birds like them a lot. Red fruit is often a signal to birds as the intended seed dispersers.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I think there's one of these in my neighbor's yard.

Free sweet goo!

Shirley the carp wouldn't steer us wrong...

They are a bit coy, though!

Wow! Talk about your Serendipty.

That is too funny! Today, I picked a few, and the sweet goo is quite tasty. I made sure to spit the seeds out in various locations so the eventual goo supply increases. I may plant one near the house- the trees are quite beautiful.

Birds like them a lot. Red fruit is often a signal to birds as the intended seed dispersers.

Yeah, the sparrows were digging them. They have competition now.

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