Published April 5, 2012 by myberriesfarm

My name is Solmaz Hafezi and welcome to my little bit of garden.

The botanical definition of a berry is a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary. Grapes are an example. The berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit in which the entire ovary wall ripens into an edible pericarp. They may have one or more carpels with a thin covering and fleshy interiors. The seeds are usually embedded in the flesh of the ovary. A plant that bears berries is said to be bacciferous. Many species of plants produce fruit that are similar to berries, but not actually berries, and these are said to be baccate.

In everyday English, “berry” is a term for any small edible fruit. These “berries” are usually juicy, round or semi-oblong, brightly coloured, sweet or sour, and do not have a stone or pit, although many seeds may be present.

Made it myself

Made it myself (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Many berries, such as the tomato, are edible, but others in the same family, such as the fruits of the deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) and the fruits of the potato (Solanum tuberosum) are poisonous to humans. Some berries, such as Capsicum, have space rather than pulp around their seeds.

In botanical language, a berry is a simple fruit having seeds and pulp produced from a single ovary; the ovary can be inferior or superior.

The fruit of citrus, such as the orange, kumquat and lemon, is a berry with a thick rind and a very juicy interior that is given the special name hesperidium.

Berries which develop from an inferior ovary are sometimes termed epigynous berries or false berries, as opposed to true berries which develop from a superior ovary. In epigynous berries, the berry includes tissue derived from parts of the flower besides the ovary. The floral tube, formed from the basal part of the sepals, petals and stamens can become fleshy at maturity and is united with the ovary to form the fruit. Common fruits that are sometimes classified as epigynous berries include bananas, coffee, members of the genus Vaccinium (e.g., cranberries and blueberries), and members of the family Cucurbitaceae (e.g., cucumbers, melons and squash).

Another specialized term is also used for Cucurbitaceae fruits, which are modified to have a hard outer rind, and are given the special name pepo. While pepos are most common in the Cucurbitaceae, the fruits of Passiflora and Carica are sometimes also considered


Published April 5, 2012 by myberriesfarm
Avocados (Persea americana) Français : Avocats...

Avocados (Persea americana) Français : Avocats (Persea americana) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The avocado (Persea americana) is a tree native to Central Mexico, classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel. Avocado or alligator pear also refers to the fruit (botanically a large berry that contains a single seed of the tree, which may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped or spherical.

Avocados are commercially valuable and are cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world. They have a green-skinned, pear-shaped fleshy body that ripens after harvesting. Trees are partially self-pollinating and often are propagated through grafting to maintain a predictable quality and quantity of the fruit.

Americana, or the avocado, originated in the state of Puebla, Mexico. The native, undomesticated variety is known as a criollo, and is small, with dark black skin, and contains a large seed. The oldest evidence of avocado use was found in a cave located in Coxcatlán, Puebla, Mexico, that dates to around 10,000 BC. The avocado tree also has a long history of cultivation in Central and South America; a water jar shaped like an avocado, dating to AD 900, was discovered in the pre-Incan city of Chan Chan. The earliest known written account of the avocado in Europe is that of Martín Fernández de Enciso (c.1470–c.1528) in 1518 or 1519 in his book, Suma De Geographia Que Trata De Todas Las Partidas Y Provincias Del Mundo. The first written record in English of the use of the word ‘avocado’ was by Hans Sloane in a 1696 index of Jamaican plants. The plant was introduced to Indonesia in 1750, Brazil in 1809, the Levant in 1908, and South Africa and Australia in the late 19th century.

The word “avocado” comes from the Spanish aguacate which in turn comes from the Nahuatl word ahuácatl (testicle, a reference to the shape of the fruit). Avocados were known by the Aztecs as ‘the fertility fruit’. In some countries of South America, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay, the avocado is known by its Quechua name, palta. In other Spanish-speaking countries is known by the Mexican name and in Portuguese it is abacate. The fruit is sometimes called an avocado pear or alligator pear (due to its shape and the rough green skin of some cultivars). The Nahuatl ahuacatl can be compounded with other words, as in ahuacamolli, meaning avocado soup or sauce, from which the Spanish word guacamole derives.

The modern English name derives from the Spanish form avocado, “advocate”, which was formed as a folk etymology that substituted (and obscured) the Nahuatl origins of the word. The earliest known written use in English is attested from 1697 as “Avogato Pear”, a term which was later corrupted as “alligator pear”. The “advocate”-form appears in several other Germanic languages, such as the German Advogato-Birne, the Swedish advokatpäron, the Danish advokat-pære and the Dutch advocaatpeer. It is known as “butter fruit” in parts of India. In China it is known as è lí (鳄梨, a direct translation of “alligator pear”) or huángyóu guǒ (黄油果, “butter fruit”).

The tree grows to 20 m (69 ft), with alternately arranged leaves 12 centimetres (4.7 in) – 25 centimetres (9.8 in) long. The flowers are inconspicuous, greenish-yellow, 5 millimetres (0.2 in) – 10 millimetres (0.4 in) wide. The pear-shaped fruit is 7 centimetres (2.8 in) – 20 centimetres (7.9 in) long, weighs between 100 grams (3.5 oz) – 1,000 grams (35 oz), and has a large central seed, 5 centimetres (2.0 in) – 6.4 centimetres (2.5 in) long.

Aguacate / Avocado

Aguacate / Avocado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The subtropical species needs a climate without frost and with little wind. High winds reduce the humidity, dehydrate the flowers, and affect pollination. When even a mild frost occurs, premature fruit drop may occur, although the Hass cultivar can tolerate temperatures down to −1°C. The trees also need well-aerated soils, ideally more than 1 m deep. Yield is reduced when the irrigation water is highly saline. These soil and climate conditions are available only in a few areas of the world, particularly in southern Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Crete, the Levant, South Africa, Colombia, Peru, parts of central and northern Chile, Vietnam, Indonesia, parts of southern India, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Hawai’i, Ecuador and Rwanda. Each region has different types of cultivars.

Commercial orchards produce an average of seven tonnes per hectare each year, with some orchards achieving 20 tonnes per hectare. Biennial bearing can be a problem, with heavy crops in one year being followed by poor yields the next. The avocado tree does not tolerate freezing temperatures, and can be grown only in subtropical or tropical climates. There are several cold-hardy varieties planted in the region of Gainesville Florida, which survive temperatures as low as 20 F with only minor leaf damage.

The avocado is a climacteric fruit (the banana is another), which means it matures on the tree, but ripens off the tree. Avocados used in commerce are picked hard and green and kept in coolers at 3.3 to 5.6°C (38 to 42°F) until they reach their final destination. Avocados must be mature to ripen properly. Avocados that fall off the tree ripen on the ground. Generally, the fruit is picked once it reaches maturity; Mexican growers pick Hass-variety avocados when they have more than 23% dry matter, and other producing countries have similar standards. Once picked, avocados ripen in a few days at room temperature (faster if stored with other fruits such as apples or bananas, because of the influence of ethylene gas). Some supermarkets sell pre-ripened avocados which have been treated with synthetic ethylene to hasten ripening. In some cases avocados can be left on the tree for several months, which is an advantage to commercial growers who seek the greatest return for their crop; but if the fruit remains unpicked for too long it falls to the ground.

Persea americana English: Avocado Deutsch: Avocado

Persea americana English: Avocado Deutsch: Avocado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The species is only partially able to self-pollinate because of dichogamy in its flowering. This limitation, added to the long juvenile period, makes the species difficult to breed. Most cultivars are propagated via grafting, having originated from random seedling plants or minor mutations derived from cultivars. Modern breeding programs tend to use isolation plots where the chances of cross-pollination are reduced. That is the case for programs at the University of California, Riverside, as well as the Volcani Centre and the Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias in Chile.

The avocado is unusual in that the timing of the male and female flower phases differs among cultivars. There are two flowering types, “A” and “B”. “A” cultivar flowers open as female on the morning of the first day and close in late morning or early afternoon. Then they open as male in the afternoon of the second day. “B” varieties open as female on the afternoon of the first day, close in late afternoon and reopen as male the following morning.

“A” cultivars: Hass, Gwen, Lamb Hass, Pinkerton, Reed. “B” cultivars: Fuerte, Sharwil, Zutano, Bacon, Ettinger, Sir Prize, Walter Hole.

Certain cultivars, such as the Hass, have a tendency to bear well only in alternate years. After a season with a low yield, due to factors such as cold (which the avocado does not tolerate well), the trees tend to produce abundantly the next season. In addition, due to environmental circumstances during some years, seedless avocados may appear on the trees. Known in the avocado industry as “cukes”, they are usually discarded commercially due to their small size.

Propagation and rootstocks Avocado is usually treated with a special technique to assist its sprouting process A young avocado sprout

While an avocado propagated by seed can bear fruit, it takes roughly four to six years to do so, and the offspring is unlikely to resemble the parent cultivar in fruit quality. Rootstocks are propagated by seed (seedling rootstocks) and also layering (clonal rootstocks). After about a year of growing in a greenhouse, the young plants are ready to be grafted. Terminal and lateral grafting is normally used. The scion cultivar grows for another 6–12 months before the tree is ready to be sold. Clonal rootstocks have been selected for specific soil and disease conditions, such as poor soil aeration or resistance to the soil-borne disease (root rot) caused by Phytophthora.

Growing indoorsUsually, avocados are grown from pits indoors. This is often done by removing the pit from a ripe, unrefrigerated avocado. The pit is then stabbed with three or four tooth picks, about one third of the way up. The pit is placed in a jar or vase with tepid water. In four to six weeks, it should split and out should come roots and a sprout. If there is no change by this time, the avocado pit is discarded. Once the stem has grown a few inches, it is placed in a pot with soil. It should be watered every few days. Avocados have been known to grow large, so owners must be ready to repot the plant several times.

English: The seed of a California-grown Hass a...Image via Wikipedia

Diseases Americana, avocado plant flowersMain article: List of avocado diseases

Avocado trees are vulnerable to bacterial, viral, fungal and nutritional diseases (excesses and deficiencies of key minerals). Disease can affect all parts of the plant, causing spotting, rotting, cankers, pitting and discoloration.

Cultivation in CaliforniaThe avocado was introduced from Mexico to the U.S state of California in the 19th century, and has become an extremely successful cash crop. About 59,000 acres (240 km2) – some 95% of United States avocado production – is located in Southern California, with 60% in San Diego County. Fallbrook, California, claims the title of “Avocado Capital of the World”, and both Fallbrook and Carpinteria, California, host annual avocado festivals.

A cultivars Two Hass avocadosChoquette A seedling from Miami, Florida on the property of Remi Choquette. Now a favored commercial cultivar in south Florida. Hass

While dozens of cultivars are grown, the Hass avocado is today the most common. It produces fruit year-round and accounts for 80% of cultivated avocados in the world. All Hass avocado trees are descended from a single “mother tree” raised by a mail carrier named Rudolph Hass, of La Habra Heights, California. Hass patented the productive tree in 1935. The “mother tree”, of uncertain subspecies, died of root rot and was cut down in September, 2002. Hass trees have medium-sized (150–250 g), ovate fruit with a black, pebbled skin. The flesh has a nutty, rich flavour with 19% oil. A hybrid Guatemalan type, it can withstand temperatures to −1°C (30°F).

Gwen is a seedling bred from Hass x Thille in 1982, Gwen is higher yielding and more dwarfing than Hass in California. The fruit has an oval shape, slightly smaller than Hass (100-200g), with a rich, nutty flavor. The skin texture is more finely pebbled than Hass, and is dull green when ripe. It is frost-hardy down to −1°C (30°F).

Lula A seedling reportedly grown from a ‘Taft’ avocado planted in Miami, Florida on the property of George Cellon, named after Cellon’s wife Lula. It was likely a cross between Mexican and Guatemalan types. Lula was recognized for its flavor and high oil content and propagated commercially in Florida. It is also very commonly used as a rootstock for nursery production. Hardy to −4°C (25°F)

Pinkerton First grown on the Pinkerton Ranch in Saticoy, California, in the early 1970s, Pinkerton is a seedling of Hass’ Rincon. The large fruit has a small seed, and its green skin deepens in color as it ripens. The thick flesh has a smooth, creamy texture, pale green color, good flavor and high oil content. It shows some cold tolerance, to −1°C (30°F) and bears consistently heavy crops. A hybrid Guatemalan type, it has excellent peeling characteristics.

Reed Developed from a chance seedling found in 1948 by James S. Reed in California, Reed has large, round, green fruit with a smooth texture and dark, thick, glossy skin. Smooth and delicate, the flesh has a slightly nutty flavor. The skin ripens green. A Guatemalan type, it is hardy to −1°C (30°F). Tree size is about 5 by 4 meters.

B cultivarsBacon Developed by a farmer, James Bacon, in 1954, Bacon has medium-sized fruit with smooth, green skin with yellow-green, light tasting flesh. When ripe, the skin remains green, but darkens slightly, and fruit yields to gentle pressure. It is cold-hardy down to −5°C (23°F).

Brogden Possibly a cross between Mexican and West Indian types, Brogden originated as a seedling grown in Winter Haven, Florida on the property of Tom W. Brogden. The variety was recognized for its cold-hardiness to −5°C (22°F) and became commercially propagated as nursery-stock for home growing. It is noted for its dark purple skin at maturity.

Ettinger A Mexican/Guatemalan cross seedling of Fuerte, this cultivar originated in Israel, and was put into production there in 1947. Mature trees tolerate four hours at −6°C (21°F). The fruit has a smooth, thin, green skin that does not peel easily. The flesh is very pale green.

Fuerte A Mexican/Guatemalan cross originating in Puebla, the Fuerte earned its name, which means strong in Spanish, after it withstood a severe frost in California in 1913. Hardy to −3°C (26°F), it has medium-sized, pear-shaped fruit with a green, leathery, easy to peel skin. The creamy flesh of mild and rich flavour has 18% oil. The skin ripens green. Tree size is 6 by 4 meters.

Monroe A Guatemalan/West Indian cross that originated from a seedling grown in Homestead, Florida on the property of J.J.L. Phillips, it was patented in 1937 and became a major commercial cultivar due to its cold hardiness and production qualities. The fruit is large, averaging over 2 pounds in weight, has an elliptical shape, and green, glossy skin. Hardy to −3°C (26°F).

Sharwil Predominantly Guatemalan, with some Mexican race genes, Sharwil was selected in 1951 by Sir Frank Sharpe at Redland Bay, southern Queensland, Australia. The name “Sharwil” is an amalgamation of Sharp and Wilson (J.C. Wilson being the first propagator). Scions were sent from Australia to Hawaii in 1966. A medium-sized fruit with rough green skin, it closely resembles the Fuerte, but is slightly more oval in shape. The fruit has greenish-yellow flesh with a rich, nutty flavor and high oil content (20–24%), and a small seed. The skin is green when ripe. It represents more than 57% of the commercial farming in Hawaii, and represents up to 20% of all avocados grown in New South Wales, Australia. It is a regular and moderate bearer with excellent quality fruit, but is sensitive to frost. Disease and pest resistance are superior to Fuerte.

Zutano Originated by R.L. Ruitt in Fallbrook in 1926, this Mexican variety is hardy to −4°C (25°F). The large, pear-shaped fruit has a shiny, thin, yellow-green skin that peels moderately easily. The flesh is pale green with fibers and has a light flavor.

Solmaz Hafezi & Alison Truery

Solmaz Hafezi & Alison Truery

Other cultivarsOther avocado cultivars include Spinks. The fruit of the cultivar Florida, grown mostly outside California, is larger and rounder, with a smooth, medium-green skin, and a less-fatty, firmer and fibrous flesh. These are occasionally marketed as low-calorie avocados. Historically attested varieties (which may or may not survive among Horticulturists) include the Challenge, Dickinson, Kist, Queen, Rey, Royal, Sharpless, and Taft.

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Published April 5, 2012 by myberriesfarm

bananas (Photo credit: Fernando Stankuns)

bananas (Photo credit: Fernando Stankuns)

Solmaz Hafezi is banana’s for bananas!

Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red.

Almost all modern edible parthenocarpic bananas come from the two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana or hybrids Musa acuminata × balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific names Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca are no longer used.

Banana is also used to describe Enset and Fe’i bananas, neither of which belong to the aforementioned species. Enset bananas belong to the genus Ensete while the taxonomy of Fe’i-type cultivars is uncertain.

In popular culture and commerce, “banana” usually refers to soft, sweet “dessert” bananas. By contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called plantains or “cooking bananas”. The distinction is purely arbitrary and the terms ‘plantain’ and ‘banana’ are sometimes interchangeable depending on their usage.

They are native to tropical South and Southeast Asia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. Today, they are cultivated throughout the tropics. They are grown in at least 107 countries,primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber, banana wine and as ornamental plants.

Banana tree (Musa x paradisiaca) male inflores...

Banana tree (Musa x paradisiaca) male inflorescence Français : Inflorescence mâle (popote) de bananier (Musa x paradisiaca). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. The plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy and are often mistaken for trees, but their main or upright stem is actually a pseudostem that grows 6 to 7.6 metres (20 to 24.9 ft) tall, growing from a corm. Each pseudostem can produce a single bunch of bananas. After fruiting, the pseudostem dies, but offshoots may develop from the base of the plant. Many varieties of bananas are perennial.

Leaves are spirally arranged and may grow 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) long and 60 cm (2.0 ft) wide. They are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.

Each pseudostem normally produces a single inflorescence, also known as the banana heart. (More are sometimes produced; an exceptional plant in the Philippines produced five.) The inflorescence contains many bracts (sometimes incorrectly called petals) between rows of flowers. The female flowers (which can develop into fruit) appear in rows further up the stem from the rows of male flowers. The ovary is inferior, meaning that the tiny petals and other flower parts appear at the tip of the ovary.

The banana fruits develop from the banana heart, in a large hanging cluster, made up of tiers (called hands), with up to 20 fruit to a tier. The hanging cluster is known as a bunch, comprising 3–20 tiers, or commercially as a “banana stem”, and can weigh from 30–50 kilograms (66–110 lb). In common usage, bunch applies to part of a tier containing 3–10 adjacent fruits.

Banana, Plantan සිංහල: කෙසෙල්

Banana, Plantan සිංහල: කෙසෙල් (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Individual banana fruits (commonly known as a banana or ‘finger’) average 125 grams (0.28 lb), of which approximately 75% is water and 25% dry matter. There is a protective outer layer (a peel or skin) with numerous long, thin strings (the phloem bundles), which run lengthwise between the skin and the edible inner portion. The inner part of the common yellow dessert variety splits easily lengthwise into three sections that correspond to the inner portions of the three carpels.

The fruit has been described as a “leathery berry”. In cultivated varieties, the seeds are diminished nearly to non-existence; their remnants are tiny black specks in the interior of the fruit.

Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive, more so than most other fruits, because of their high potassium content, and the small amounts of the isotope potassium-40 found in naturally occurring potassium. Proponents of nuclear power sometimes refer to the banana equivalent dose of radiation to support their arguments.

The genus Musa is in the family Musaceae. The APG II system, of 2003 (unchanged from 1998), assigns Musaceae to the order Zingiberales in the clade commelinids in the monocotyledonous flowering plants. Some sources assert that the banana’s genus, Musa, is named for Antonio Musa, physician to the Emperor Augustus. Others say that Linnaeus, who named the genus in 1750, simply adapted an Arabic word for banana, mauz. The word banana itself might have come from the Arabic banan, which means “finger”, or perhaps from Wolof banaana. The genus contains many species; several produce edible fruit, while others are cultivated as ornamentals.

Banana classification has long been a problematic issue for taxonomists due to the way Linnaeus originally classified bananas as two species based only on their methods of consumption, Musa sapientum for dessert bananas and Musa paradisiaca for plantains. However, this simplistic classification has proved to be inadequate to address the sheer number of cultivars (many of them synonymous) existing in its primary center of diversity, Southeast Asia.

Ernest Cheesman first discovered that Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca, described by Linnaeus, were actually cultivars and descendants of two wild and seedy species, Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana, both first described by Luigi Aloysius Colla. He recommended their abolition in favor of reclassifying bananas according to three morphologically distinct cultivars – those primarily exhibiting the botanical characteristics of Musa balbisiana, those primarily exhibiting the botanical characteristics of Musa acuminata, and those with characteristics that are the combination of the two.

Photo of four varieties of bananas.

Photo of four varieties of bananas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Photo by Solmaz Hafezi

Researchers Norman Simmonds and Ken Shepherd proposed the genome-based nomenclature system in 1955. This system eliminated almost all the difficulties and inconsistencies of the nomenclature system of bananas based on Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca. Despite this, Musa paradisiaca is still recognized by some authorities today, leading to confusion.

Generally, modern classifications of banana cultivars follow Simmonds’ and Shepherd’s system. The accepted names for bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana or Musa acuminata × balbisiana, depending on their genetic ancestry.

Southeast Asian farmers first domesticated bananas. Recent archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence at Kuk Swamp in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea suggests that banana cultivation there goes back to at least 5000 BCE, and possibly to 8000 BCE. It is likely that other species were later and independently domesticated elsewhere in southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is the region of primary diversity of the banana. Areas of secondary diversity are found in Africa, indicating a long history of banana cultivation in the region.

Phytolith discoveries in Cameroon dating to the first millennium BCE triggered an as yet unresolved debate about the date of first cultivation in Africa. There is linguistic evidence that bananas were known in Madagascar around that time. The earliest prior evidence indicates that cultivation dates to no earlier than late 6th century CE. It is likely, however, that bananas were brought at least to Madagascar if not to the East African coast during the phase of Malagasy colonization of the island from South East Asia c. 400 CE.

The Buddhist story Vessantara Jataka briefly mentions the banana, the king Vessantara has found a banana tree (among some other fruit trees) in the jungle, that bear bananas the size of an elephant’s tusk.

The banana may have been present in isolated locations of the Middle East on the eve of Islam. There is some textual evidence that the prophet Muhammad was familiar with bananas. The spread of Islam was followed by far-reaching diffusion. There are numerous references to it in Islamic texts (such as poems and hadiths) beginning in the 9th century. By the 10th century the banana appears in texts from Palestine and Egypt. From there it diffused into north Africa and Muslim Iberia. During the medieval ages, bananas from Granada were considered among the best in the Arab world.In 650, Islamic conquerors brought the banana to Palestine. Today, banana consumption increases significantly in Islamic countries during Ramadan, the month of daylight fasting.

Misahuallí - Wild Pink BananasMisahuallí – Wild Pink Bananas (Photo credit: Drriss)

Bananas were introduced to the Americas by Portuguese sailors who brought the fruits from West Africa in the 16th century. The word banana is of West African origin, from the Wolof language, and passed into English via Spanish or Portuguese.

Many wild banana species as well as cultivars exist in extraordinary diversity in New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and the Philippines.

There are fuzzy bananas whose skins are bubblegum pink; green-and-white striped bananas with pulp the color of orange sherbet; bananas that, when cooked, taste like strawberries. The Double Mahoi plant can produce two bunches at once. The Chinese name of the aromatic Go San Heong banana means ‘You can smell it from the next mountain.’ The fingers on one banana plant grow fused; another produces bunches of a thousand fingers, each only an inch long. —Mike Peed, The New Yorker

The Tree of Scarlet Berries by Amy Lowell

Published April 5, 2012 by myberriesfarm
Alaska wild berries from the Innoko National W...

Alaska wild berries from the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Solmaz Hafezi

The rain gullies the garden paths And tinkles on the broad sides of grass blades. A tree, at the end of my arm, is hazy with mist. Even so, I can see that it has red berries, A scarlet fruit, Filmed over with moisture. It seems as though the rain, Dripping from it, Should be tinged with colour. I desire the berries, But, in the mist, I only scratch my hand on the thorns. Probably, too, they are bitter.

Berries by Walter De la Mare

Published April 5, 2012 by myberriesfarm

Photo by Solmaz Hafezi

Photo by Solmaz Hafezi

There was an old woman Went blackberry picking Along the hedges From Weep to Wicking. – Half a pottle- No more she had got, When out steps a Fairy From her green grot; And says, ‘Well, Jill, Would ‘ee pick ee mo?’ And Jill, she curtseys, And looks just so. Be off,’ says the Fairy, ‘As quick as you can, Over the meadows To the little green lane That dips to the hayfields Of Farmer Grimes: I’ve berried those hedges A score of times; Bushel on bushel I’ll promise’ee, Jill, This side of supper If’ee pick with a will.’ She glints very bright, And speaks her fair; Then lo, and behold! She had faded in air.

Be sure Old Goodie She trots betimes Over the meadows To Farmer Grimes. And never was queen With jewelry rich As those same hedges From twig to ditch; Like Dutchmen‘s coffers, Fruit, thorn, and flower – They shone like William And Mary’s bower. And be sure Old Goodie Went back to Weep, So tired with her basket She scarce could creep.

Photo by Solmaz Hafezi

Photo by Solmaz Hafezi

When she comes in the dusk To her cottage door, There’s Towser wagging As never before, To see his Missus So glad to be Come from her fruit-picking Back to he. As soon as next morning Dawn was grey, The pot on the hob Was simmering away; And all in a stew And a hugger-mugger Towser and Jill A-boiling of sugar, And the dark clear fruit That from Faerie came, For syrup and jelly And blackberry jam.

Twelve jolly gallipots Jill put by; And one little teeny one, One inch high; And that she’s hidden A good thumb deep, Half way over From Wicking to Weep

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Orange Berries Dark Green Leaves By John Taggart b. 1942 John Taggart

Published April 5, 2012 by myberriesfarm
ex of high contrast in these inedible berries

ex of high contrast in these inedible berries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Darkened not completely dark let us walk in the darkened field

trees in the field outlined against that which is less dark
under the trees are bushes with orange berries dark green leaves
not poetry’s mixing of yellow light blue sky darker than that
darkness of the leaves a modulation of the accumulated darkness
orange of the berries another modulation spreading out toward us
it is like the reverberation of a bell rung three times
like the call of a voice the call of a voice that is not there.
We will not look up how they got their name in a book of names
we will not trace the name’s root conjecture its first murmuring
the root of the berries their leaves is succoured by darkness
darkness like a large block of stone hauled on a wooden sled
like stone formed and reformed by a dark sea rolling in turmoil.

John Taggart, “Orange Berries Dark Green Leaves” from Is Music: Selected Poems. Copyright © 2010 by John Taggart. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Source: Is Music: Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2010)


Published April 5, 2012 by myberriesfarm
Berberis in Fellows' GardenPhoto by Solmaz Hafezi

Berberis ( /ˈbɜrbərɪs/ Bér-be-ris), the barberries, is a genus of about 450-500 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs from 1-5 m tall with thorny shoots, native to the temperate and subtropical regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America. They are closely related to the genus Mahonia, which is included within Berberis by some botanists. Species diversity is greatest in South America, Africa and Asia; Europe has a few species, and North America only two.

The genus Berberis is characterised by dimorphic shoots, with long shoots which form the structure of the plant, and short shoots only 1-2 mm long. The leaves on long shoots are non-photosynthetic, developed into three-spined thorns 3-30 mm long; the bud in the axil of each thorn-leaf then develops a short shoot with several normal, photosynthetic leaves. These leaves are 1-10 cm long, simple, and either entire, or with spiny margins. Only on young seedlings do leaves develop on the long shoots, with the adult foliage style developing after the young plant is 1-2 years old.

Many deciduous species, such as Berberis thunbergii or B. vulgaris, are noted for their attractive pink or red autumn colour. In some evergreen species from China, such as B. candidula or B. verruculosa), the leaves are brilliant white beneath, a feature valued horticulturally. Some horticultural variants of B. thunbergii have dark red to violet foliage.

The flowers are produced singly or in racemes of up to 20 on a single flower-head. They are yellow or orange, 3-6 mm long, with six sepals and six petals in alternating whorls of three, the sepals usually coloured like the petals. The fruit is a small berry 5-15 mm long, ripening red or dark blue, often with a pink or violet waxy surface bloom; in some species, they may be either long and narrow (like a bar, hence ‘barberry’), but are spherical in other species.

Berberis species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including a moth, the Mottled Pug.

Berberis vulgaris (European barberry) and Berberis canadensis (American barberry) serve as alternate host species of the wheat rust fungus (Puccinia graminis), a grass-infecting rust fungus that is a serious fungal disease of wheat and related grains. For this reason, cultivation of B. vulgaris is prohibited in many areas, and imports to the United States are forbidden. The North American B. canadensis, native to Appalachia and the Midwest United States, was nearly eradicated for this reason, and is now rarely seen extant, with the most remaining occurrences in the Virginia mountains.

Some Berberis species have become invasive when planted outside of their native ranges, including B. glaucocarpa and B. darwinii in New Zealand (where it is now banned from sale and propagation), and green-leaved B. thunbergii in much of the eastern United States.

Dansk: Berberis vulgaris: Blomsterstand og løv...

Dansk: Berberis vulgaris: Blomsterstand og løv (med rust) English: Berberis vulgaris: Flowers and foliage (with rust) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Photo by Solmaz Hafezi

CultivationSeveral species of Berberis are popular garden shrubs, grown for such features as ornamental leaves, yellow flowers, or red or blue-black berries. Low-growing Berberis plants are also commonly planted as pedestrian barriers. Taller-growing species are valued for crime prevention; being very dense, viciously spiny shrubs, they make very effective barriers impenetrable to burglars. For this reason they are often planted below potentially vulnerable windows, and used as hedges.

Culinary usesThe berries are edible, and rich in vitamin C, with a very sharp flavour. The thorny shrubs make harvesting them difficult. Berries are often used in Middle Eastern and European rice pilaf recipes. They are an important food for many small birds, which disperse the seeds in their droppings.

A widely available Ukrainian, Russian, Estonian and Lithuanian candy called Барбарис (Barbaris) is made using extract from the berries, which are commonly pictured on the candy wrappers. Confiture d’épinette was a traditional sweet of Rouen.

CalafateBerberis microphylla or the similar Berberis heterophylla (both known as Calafate), and Berberis darwinii (Michay) are two species found in Patagonia in Argentina and Chile. Their edible purple fruits are used for jams and infusions; anyone who tries a berry is said to be certain to return to Patagonia. The calafate and michay are symbols of Patagonia.

ZereshkZereshk (زرشک) is the Persian name for the dried fruit of Berberis vulgaris, which are widely cultivated in Iran. Iran is the largest producer of zereshk and saffron in the world. Zereshk and saffron are produced on the same land and the harvest is at the same time.

Berberis vulgaris

Berberis vulgaris (Photo credit: color line)

Berberis vulgaris Photo by Solmaz Hafezi

The South Khorasan province in Iran is the main area of zereshk and saffron production in the world. Barberry cultivation in Iran is concentrated in the South Khorasan province, especially around Birjand and Qaen. About 85% of production is in Qaen and about 15% in Birjand. According to evidence the cultivation of seedless barberry in South Khorasan goes back to two hundred years ago.

A garden of zereshk is called zereshk-estan.

Zereshk is widely used in cooking, imparting a tart flavor to chicken dishes. It is usually cooked with rice, called zereshk poloRecipe, and provides a nice meal with chicken. Zereshk jamphoto, zereshk juicephoto, and zereshk fruit rolls are also produced in Iran.

In colloquial Persian, zereshk is used as a term for showing dissent or disagreement, similar to the usage of “blowing a raspberry” in English. Although not a vulgar term in that context, it is not used in polite speech.