Brisbane Local Food

Growing local


Today I was looking at the Rare Fruit Council web page  dated 1994, HERE, and was very surprised at the uncommon and rare fruit plants that they had growing in the Brisbane botanical gardens beside the river.  There are quite a few of them growing in the Mt. Cootha gardens now.   Don't think I am capable of walking the distance anymore but I would love to see them. 

This site made me think of any rare or unusual plant I might have.  One which I think is unusual is a plant from the grape family, and a perennial,  it is called the veldt grape, Cissus quadrangularis.   The plant grows wild in India and also in South Africa. 

It has just started to take off, though I have not tasted the fruit yet, it reminds me of a cactus plant with a square stem, but with tendrils and has one leaf here and there. 

I do have some uncommon native trees growing in the yard as well, in pots, one of the vines is an Sacha inca nut.  

Share with us any rare or unusual fruit you have growing at your place. 

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Chilacayote or fig leaf gourd are unusual but tasty - The flowers, leaves and tender shoots are used  in stir frys -  Mexicans traditionally use the seeds to make palanquettas - a form of confectionary like toffee . The immature fruit is eaten cooked, while the mature fruit is sweet eaten straight from the vine - used in fruit salads and used to make  deserts, sweets and jam , It is juiced to make drinks both alcoholic and non alcoholic . We do have over 100 varieties of subtropical and tropical fruits and vegetables here mostly immature still 

Have not heard of that one Mary-Ann.  From what I have since read about it, it is very versatile.  One stem with a tap root up to 2 meters deep and can have numerous runners, up to 30m.  Yellow flowers sort of like pumpkins/squash.

Named Cucurbita ficifolia (meaning fig leaf).   Have you tasted the fruit yet.   You must have plenty of space there.  Thanks for sharing.

yes we eat them all the time - but usually too young to have developed seeds - will have to  leave some grow old for seeds ... also have bitter melons but they are vigorous and we tend to only use 1 a week - there are lots on at the moment !     thankfully the jicama are taking off again - really love them raw or cooked very tasty!  eating Panama berries loganberries and tayberries at the moment ! green rubarb, russian and bolivian ciucumbers 

Mary-Ann you are very lucky to have so much land and be able to grow Melons, Pumpkins etc. I have many Heritage Watermelon, Pumpkin, and other seeds if you are ever interested in them. I could bring them along to a GV sometime. I had big ideas of planting them until I saw just how out of control the SMALL Pumpkins I planted are in the garden at the moment. 

Did you ever get the seeds for the Passionfruit I identified for you last year?

seeds sound awesome 0 always willing to try new things .no saved the passionfruit seeds but nothing germinated - but then things have been very hectic here and little has been done in the gardens 

To keep your watermelon, pumpkin, etc vines under control pinch off the growing tips, This will help to keep the vine to a smaller area. ( you will need to keep doing this as the vine will put out new shoots).

Good idea, done carefully. You could end up with a lot of laterals but little-to-no-fruit. The plant will make laterals and they will fruit if left alone. The plant, whatever it is, needs a certain amount of leaf area to make the food to make the fruit. 

Each time we had pumpkin come up and start to take over, we would consider pulling it out but then noticed the pumpkins started to appear near the ends. 

We did watch a show on telly, which said to gather up the pumpkin leaf on its stem,  and cut off the top in your hand and make a smaller circle of green leaf, that would allow more light into the things growing under it.

'Rare or unusual' - well only to me! the Saba Nut and the Rollinia I've not yet tasted and to that extent they are 'rare'. Most of my other plants are fairly well-known even the Dragon Fruit is no longer so unusual - but quite the tastiest and easiest to grow of the fruits except for the mighty Figs.

Yes Elaine, most of the unusual plants we are growing now,  were not heard of about 20 years ago.  Still waiting for my Saba nut to show a flower and I've never had or tasted a Rollinia.  One of the unusual plants I had growing about 15 years ago was a Pitombe, which had orange fruit similar to a small apricot, in colour and taste.  It took ages to grow to about a metre.  We dug it out some time ago, but I think I found a piece of it growing nearby the old site, a couple of days ago. 

You must have some very interesting and unusual plants growing on your block Christa.

Many plants have come and gone Lissa.  As you know we are dominated by the big tree and now have to find plants that like dappled shade.  The problem with that is you do not get much fruit in that position. I get enjoyment out of seeing things grow.   


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