Friday, January 27, 2012

Aloe barberae turns out to be Aloe tongaensis

I bought 3 bare rooted Aloe "barberae" on ebay in 2006.
I immediately planted one at the front of our home, the other, I grew in a container for another year or more, until I had time to prepare the rock garden I had planned.
5 years layer, the one in front hasn't bloomed yet, but the one in the backyard is much bigger and bloomed late October 2011. It was a pretty sight.
One word of advice, these Aloes like drainage, the 3rd one was planted flush with the ground in our sandy soil, yet when the rainy season came, it rotted away.
It's a magnificent plant. Maybe it was a blessing its not a real barberae, as they can get very big.

Aloe tongaensis 1

Aloe tongaensis 2

Aloe tongaensis blooms

Marlierea - not fit for eating

I bought the seeds on, germinated and grew the plant in a container, then planted it in the garden 3 years ago, well it's fruiting profusely now.
The shrub/tree is really pretty, with the typically peeling bark of the Myrtacious family, fragrant leaves etc. I was really looking forward to trying the fruit, well, it's a total disappointment.

The fruit looks much like a purple strawberry guava. Like the strawberry guava, 90% of the fruit is infested with fruit fly larvae. The plant itself also strongly resembles the strawberry guava, strikingly beautiful, tough, drought tolerant.

Take a very ripe fruit, if you can find one without worms, bite it halfway, check for any squirming, then place it in your mouth, chew. The first impression is this could be quite good, a nice tart guava like taste, but it quickly gives way to the most bitter after taste, if you have taken quinine before, thats how bitter it is.

Since my gardening space is limited, like the strawberry guava, the Marlierea has to go.
I plan on planting a seed grown Atemoya in its place after all possibility of frost is gone.

I hope this helps anyone else interested in growing Marlierea, for landscaping, fantastic, for edibility, not very good. Other not so good edible plants that will soon be gone from my yard, Suriname cherry.



Rotting fruit

Peeling Bark

Fruit with seeds