What is this weird pod thing?
March 27, 2012 2:27 PM   Subscribe

What is this weird fruit thing growing in my backyard?

I just found this today and I have no idea what it is. I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and this looks like some sort of zucchini type thing? It has bright white liquid inside that stains like white-out on the skin. Any ideas?

Pic 1

Pic 2
posted by supercrayon to Home & Garden (19 answers total)
 
Isn't that a choko?
posted by thylacinthine at 2:31 PM on March 27, 2012


Does it grow on a vine? Here's a wikipedia article: choko.
posted by thylacinthine at 2:32 PM on March 27, 2012


But beware; there is a toxic weed with similar fruit (Thanks, Wikipedia! You made that so easy), so don't eat the putative choko/chayote fruit/mirliton until you've verified that that's what it is. (In the US I'd say "take it to your local agricultural school's Extension Service" but I have no idea what the Australian equivalent is.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:43 PM on March 27, 2012


As a chayote/choko has a large shelled single seed inside, I am a concerned that that doesn't match those pictures of your fruit or vegetable! I would consult your....whatever agricultural service is, as Sidhedevil suggested, before trying to eat it.
posted by vetala at 2:53 PM on March 27, 2012


Oooh, those do look close in the pics, don't they? The op might have to compare flowers and leaves.
posted by thylacinthine at 2:54 PM on March 27, 2012


Looks a lot like my mystery pod from a few years ago.
posted by Mountain Goatse at 3:05 PM on March 27, 2012


That doesn't look especially like a choko to me on the inside. The rind to flesh to seed ratio is all wrong.
posted by Netzapper at 3:06 PM on March 27, 2012


The "white out" inside points to latex = toxic, I don't think chayotes do that. Don't eat!
posted by momus_window at 3:33 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, pretty sure Sidhedevil's got it with what Australians call 'wild choko vine' (pics of the pod).

If you've got the plant, look at the leaves - they're quite different between the two (choko vs wild choko (better image, but down at the moment)). Notice especially the different vein patterns, and how wild choko leaves are elongated with a base that only slightly curves behind the leaf stem, while the real thing is more rounded and the base curves considerably behind.
posted by Pinback at 4:02 PM on March 27, 2012


Sidhedvil, New Zealand is a different country to Australia, they are approx 1500km across sea from one another =)


I'd suggest its a Feijoa, common in NZ, which grows on a shrub or small evergreen tree upto 7m high. Or maybe Choko - I think choko are actually in season now, not sure on Feijoa season.
posted by Under the Sea at 4:04 PM on March 27, 2012


That is really really really not a feijoa. Not even a little bit. I agree on the likely choko identification, but I also second you don't eat it. It would help if you can give us an indication of its size, though.
posted by lollusc at 4:19 PM on March 27, 2012


You're in Auckland itself? Take one to a plant nursery and ask them.

And if it's a choko, count your blessings. Mmm, choko slice. And choko chocolate cake.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:30 PM on March 27, 2012


On a re-look at your pictures, I'm not so sure now that it's Araujia. Can you confirm which end the stem was attached? From the pics, yours appears to have the seed bunch attached at the 'bottom' far end of the fruit (which is very odd), while Araujia has it attached at the 'top' stem end (the same as a real choko & other fruits).

Nonetheless, as a general rule "milky white sap = don't eat unless you know for sure it's safe" is a pretty good one to live (& continue living) by…
posted by Pinback at 4:32 PM on March 27, 2012


Sidhedvil, New Zealand is a different country to Australia, they are approx 1500km across sea from one another =)

D'oh! I do know that. I just got "Australia" into my head because of "choko". Thanks for the heads-up!
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:05 PM on March 27, 2012


If I recall correctly, choko has a bit of a sticky sap, which makes it a bit fiddly to prepare. But I agree: a nursery will know.
posted by thylacinthine at 7:01 PM on March 27, 2012


not chayote. are there pics of the plant?
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 10:27 PM on March 27, 2012


I think it's either an Araujia, as Sidhedevil says, or a related species of milkweed vine, Morrenia odorata. See here and here.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:41 AM on March 28, 2012


Contact Plant and Food Research and ask them. Just send a polite enquiry email to whatever contact email is listed on their website and ask for it to be forwarded around. Someone in the postharvest group will probably know and enquiry emails like this do appear on the internal mailing list from time to time (I did my PhD there, although I'm not a plant scientist). Photographs of the plant and any other details you may have will definitely help with identification by the way.

Actually, looking at their website they don't have a centralised email listed anymore so maybe ring main reception in Auckland and ask them if there's someone you could contact.
posted by shelleycat at 6:15 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hi supercrayon, that's definitely a kapok vine/moth plant.
It's one of Auckland Regional Council's listed pest plants, instructions on how to manage it are here.

Be careful with that milky sap, it can irritate skin.

You can contact the ARC Biosecurity team on 09 366 2000 or 0800 80 60 40.
posted by Catch at 3:40 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


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