Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Leatherleaf Viburnam

Viburnam rhytidophyllum. This deciduous
flowering evergreen now over 15 feet high has inexplicably begun
to bloom outside my bedroom window. It normally blooms in May
and forms next years buds in the fall.

The background is filled with ripe persimmon berries (Diospyros).
Persimmons are the fruit of a tree in the ebony wood family.
It was known to the greeks as "fruit of the gods". The word persimmon
is from the Powhatan language for "dry fruit". The Powhatan were
a Virginia Indian tribe related to the Algonquin nation.

The fruit is astringent due to acids and tannins and is not edible until
it has over-ripened by a process called bletting. Bletting occurs after
ripening when the fruit starts to decay abd ferment. This results in a
chemical increase in sugars and a decrease in acids and tannins. If
eaten too early the fruit can actually adhere to the stomache lining
forming a bezoar. I decided many years ago that persimmons were
probably beter observed than eaten. 10-27-09

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