Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Evidence in the Case of the Mystery Fruit Tree

Daniel's Mystery Fruit Tree in Full Bloom, March 2011.
Mystery fruit from my backyard, June 2011.
Regular readers of this blog know that we've been engaged in a botanical mystery for the past year.  My friend Daniel has a tree with a fruit of unknown origin-- a fruit we've been calling The Mystery Fruit.  Several months after discussing Daniel's Mystery Fruit Tree, we discovered that I had my own Mystery Fruit Tree in my backyard and we wondered if it was the same kind of tree.  After careful examination of photographs of the fruit and pits from both trees, I can safely say that they are not the same kind of tree.  The pits from Daniel's tree have a much rougher surface and the fruit from his tree is larger and has a thicker and slightly furrier skin.  The trees also seem to produce fruit at different times of year.  My tree fruited in June.  Daniel's tree is producing fruit now.
Fruit from Daniel's Mystery Fruit Tree, November 2010.

Of course, all of this information just makes us more excited to solve both mysteries and we're hoping readers-- especially our friend Bharati-- can help.  At the end of this missive, I am reprinting the letter that Daniel wrote to Bharati via this blog updating her (and the rest of us) on the fruit situation this season.  If anyone has input or research suggestions for solving our botanical mysteries, we'd love to hear from you.
Mystery Fruit leaves and pits, October 2011.  Photo courtesy Daniel Marlos 2011.

Dear Susan,

Where we last left this story last season, your friend Bharati wanted to see a cross section of what I have been calling a Sliva or a Mystery Fruit.  Today was the first opportunity I had to get a photo in quite some time, and to my dismay, the tree was stripped of fruit.  There were not as many drupes this year and they were not yet ready when I checked two weeks ago.  While I am unable to provide Bharati with a cross section of the fruit, I can provide her with a photo of a pile of pits.  The squirrels sit on this stump and eat the fruits.  If you recall, that was the catalyst for my baking experiments last year.  There were a few pits on the stump and I gathered the others from around the stump.  There is a small branch with leaves from the tree included in the photo.  They appear more like peach pits than plum pits.

Daniel Marlos