Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Update on Mystery Tree Blossoms

I've had some questions from readers about the origins of my friend Daniel's mystery fruit tree and after further research, the questions have multiplied and there are few answers in sight.  

My friend Bharati asked if the tree has two fruiting seasons.  Daniel says no.  The tree has one fruiting per year.  It blooms in March and the fruit is ready in November.  I think Daniel was careful not to say that the fruit "ripens" because as I've discussed in a previous post, the most notable characteristic of the fruit is that it NEVER seems to ripen.

Daniel believes that the mystery tree is "definitely a stone fruit in genus Prunus."  He suspects that one of the wild almond trees in his Mount Washington neighborhood was cross-pollinated with some kind of cultivated stone-fruit tree like a peach.  (The tree was a "volunteer" that sprouted in his yard a number of years ago, so he has no clue about it's actual origin.)  

Daniel has previously said he thought the tree was a Sliva.  Since the word "Sliva" is Bulgarian for plum, I suppose it's not inaccurate to call the mystery fruit tree a "Sliva", but at this point, we're all curious to know more.  

Bharati also asked if I had a photograph of a cross-section of the fruit.  I've checked the photo archives and I'm sorry to report that I do not.  I did, however, have this closer view of the fruit itself. 

Daniel scores Sliva fruit to make cobbler, November 2010.
I don't believe that the new photo provides any new clues, but I'm posting it for what it's worth.  You can be sure that when November comes, I will be taking more photographs.  In the meantime, I may have to consult an expert in the matter.  I'll be sure to report back with further information as it reveals itself.  If anyone out there knows a mystery-loving botanist, please let me know.


  1. Has Daniel been in touch with the CA Rare Fruit Growers (http://www.crfg.org/) to see if they have a clue? A cross-section photo would be great when you get this year's fruit - what is the color of the flesh? I also found it interesting that the outer skin seems a bit fuzzy like a peach and not smooth like a plum (dunno if that is just the effect in this photo).


  2. Wonder if Daniel found page 328 of http://tinyurl.com/4kgf5bl

  3. @Bharati- Thanks for the tip. I now regret not taking more photos when I had the chance. I do remember that the fruit came off in chunks so there wasn't a neat cross-section to photograph. And you're right... the outer skin was a bit fuzzy.

  4. @Bharati- WOW- this peach-almond photograph is amazing! I haven't seen the fruit break open and shrivel like the ones on p. 329, but I will certainly be contacting Daniel to see what he has to say about it.

  5. Daniel says that the fruit from his mystery tree does NOT shrivel up and split open like the peach-almond tree. Back to the drawing board...