Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's Showtime! Pitaya Bursts onto the Scene

A year or so ago I was investigating bizarre fruits that I might want to add to the finca. I came across the "Dragon Fruit," or Pitaya (Pitahaya). Since it is a cactus/succulent thing I didn't want to spend some bucks and mail order it so I put it in the back of my mind. Then I was at Eneida's Nursery in Cabo Rojo and whalla...there one was for $1.50. I thought our elevation was too high and we might be too wet but for that price I went for it. For a year I have been ignoring the ugly little plant and was just about to move it to a better climbing spot when some giant buds appeared!
We got a little rain and these buds tripled in size and got all elongated.

Then they started to do the "Little Shop of Horrors" thing (minus the singing)..I swear the bracts were moving and dancing about.

So every day several times a day I watched.

And watched some more.

Then I did an evening check (they are nighttime bloomers and it is only for around 18 hours or so) and they had burst into action! They were HUGE and beautiful and did I say huge?

Look at the size of them, they are almost coconut sized! They also had a very nice scent which I didn't expect.

So there in our yard are these gigantic blooms just waiting for bats to pollinate them. The only bad thing is that I probably won't get fruit since you need two different plants. There is a plant some miles away in the jungle but I have not seen buds or flowers on it.

With or without the fruit it is very exciting to witness the blooms since they are so short lived. I did some finger pollinating but it won't work. It just makes me scan websites for possibly the pink flowering one so next year (actually they bloom more than once a year) I can get fruit. Since they are so easy to propagate it is possible Eneida's uses one plant for stock so I don't want to get one from there. I can, however head to the jungle spot and break off a section to start...yeah that's what I'll do. If you haven't seen the fruit you should look it up on line. Supposedly you can eat them fresh as dessert or savory but I have only had them dried.

Look at all the frilly parts.This photo was at 6 in the morning just before it wilted into non-existence.

Pretty sensational!

Another addition to the finca is yet another cat. This little, and I mean little, kitty showed up hungry and very affectionate last night. What are we supposed to do? Ignore the hunger cries? Ignore the purring and rubbing? Well, we decided to ignore the protests of the other 11 until Jeff can find someone at work to take him or the other cats get tired of being bent out of shape about it. It slept inside, tried to pal around with the other hissing growling ones and curled up somewhere inside since we awoke to some little meows...anyone want a very nice little kitty?


Anonymous said...

Regarding the Pitahaya all I can say is WOW!!! I have never seen anything quite like it! Thanks for sharing! I wonder where in the jungle did you see the other specimen. Did you know that at one time the Road 362 was designed to actually go through your yard? They had cut the hill (using jail labor force) right through your neighbor's lot and was intended to continue through the creek (where you have your wooden bridge)onto your yard. Somehow they changed their minds and build the road where it is now. The Pitahaya may have been left from previous finca owners (prior to my Grandpa).

We would love to adopt the little one; however, it would be a bit expensive to ship him to mainland. Besides, our dog may not agree with that idea. It looks like he may have a little of Siamese in him. I believe the original Bebo cat was a Siamese cat so he could be a descendant, LOL!

Best always,

H Jr.

ryan said...

Oh! She (he?) is beautiful. As are your trees, and as is your blog. I'm in the process of relocating to the island for work. I'm here as of last week, and working out the logistics of the move while I keep on the job.

I left my two-year old black kitten, Diabla, with a friend of mine back home. Thinking about flying her down, but also thinking of leaving her where she's safe and well-taken care of. But I miss her.

I was walking home last night and came across the tiniest grey kitten, and fed him some of my leftover tuna fish sandwich. I'm worried he won't survive the streets, but he wouldn't let me near.

Roundabout way of saying... if you really want to give the little one to a good home, I'd love the company!

(And would love to meet with you to discuss your experience moving here, etc. I'm a bit overwhelmed, trying to keep up...)