What is this thing and can I eat it - part deux
September 1, 2010 10:14 AM   Subscribe

SO what's this OTHER thing growing on my backyard tree. And more important, will I soon be able to eat it?

Thus far in my backyard I've found plants that grow tangerines, passion fruit, persimmons and the biggest fig tree I have ever seen. I was about to write off the tree outside my bedroom as a slacker there for aesthetic value alone when I saw something starting to grow there:


I figure it's probably a flower of some kind and ignore it. Then a month passes and now they all look like this:


They're about the size of a kiwi and they feel on the outside kind of like a lemon. Only I've seen lemon and lime trees and I'm pretty sure that isn't what this is.

So here's the question: What IS growing on this tree, when is it going to be done and when it's finished, will it be edible?
posted by rileyray3000 to Home & Garden (27 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
it's a mount royal plum tree, and they are edible, not the easiest tree to grow either...
posted by fozzie33 at 10:22 AM on September 1, 2010

I don't know what that is, but it's not a mount royal plum. The leaves are entirely wrong and the end of the fruit is very strange and the "flowers" are not plum flowers at all. Don't eat it yet!
posted by The otter lady at 10:28 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

That's a pretty funky looking thing at the end of that "plum"...I was curious about what a Mount Royal plum was, and none of the pictures I found had that. Is it just what you get before the flower falls off? I'm not trying to call anyone out; I'm just really, really curious at this point, and would like more information...
posted by Ys at 10:31 AM on September 1, 2010

It might help us to know where you are.
posted by mareli at 10:47 AM on September 1, 2010

Response by poster: I'm in California in Los Angeles.
posted by rileyray3000 at 10:53 AM on September 1, 2010

That might by Honeyberry.
posted by watercarrier at 10:59 AM on September 1, 2010

It looks like the Blue Joy variety - but not 100%.
posted by watercarrier at 11:05 AM on September 1, 2010

any chance we can see a cross section of the fruit?
posted by fozzie33 at 11:14 AM on September 1, 2010

Response by poster: For the record, right now, it looks more green than blue. Though I suppose that could change.
posted by rileyray3000 at 11:15 AM on September 1, 2010

Blue Quandong?

More foliage and a scale reference could help.
posted by nuffsaid at 11:16 AM on September 1, 2010

posted by watercarrier at 11:48 AM on September 1, 2010

I found the rose apple, which looks to be the same size and with similar leaves, but the color is totally wrong. Maybe a variety, though?
posted by devinemissk at 11:57 AM on September 1, 2010

The funky lobe things reminded me of mangosteen, but it can't be that because the lobes on a mangosteen are on the stem-end of the fruit. Plus mangosteen isn't citrus and the skin you describe has a citrusy texture. I don't know what it is but by the shape of the leaves and the description of the skin I bet it is a citrus of some kind. I looked over several dozen wikipedia articles in the citrus category trying to find something that looked like yours, but no luck. (I did find these weird looking things though!)
posted by contessa at 11:57 AM on September 1, 2010

I think devinemissk has it! I was totally off on the citrus.
posted by contessa at 11:58 AM on September 1, 2010

Top Google hit on "fruit that goes from blue to green" came back as Pineapple Guava, which looks rather like your pics and the Wikipedia page says it's about the right size.

You could call up your local agricultural extension office, or even drop by with a sample.
posted by galadriel at 12:01 PM on September 1, 2010

Just note that rose apple and pineapple guava are both in the myrtle family and a lot of what I saw online that looked promising was also in the myrtle family...so chances are, this is some variety of myrtle. (Of course, there are a lot of myrtles out there, but that can help narrow it down.)
posted by devinemissk at 12:11 PM on September 1, 2010

I'm with galadriel, I think you have some variety of feijoa aka pineapple guava.
posted by bgrebs at 12:11 PM on September 1, 2010

I was going to say Pinteapple Guava, too, but the leaves look wrong, and those were really blue fruit in their earlier stages.

I think it's related, somewhere in the Syzygium genus, along with guavas, rose apples, and others.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:13 PM on September 1, 2010

Sorry, but I doubt it's a pineapple guava (feijoa as I knew them). I had one once and this doesn't look like anything I ever saw on mine. What were the flowers like? The feijoa flower as I remember it is pinkish-white, rather like a fuchsia flower.
posted by Logophiliac at 12:16 PM on September 1, 2010

If you go by the extension office, be sure to take some leaves/foliage also.
posted by annsunny at 12:29 PM on September 1, 2010

The flowers on the fejoia don't look anything like the flower OP posted.
posted by watercarrier at 12:37 PM on September 1, 2010

I also think Syzigium, possibly plum satinash, Syzygium cryptophlebium. Or malabar plum, S. cumini.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:09 PM on September 1, 2010

Just a thought: Plants are classified by their flowers: A picture of a flower, if there are still any available, would be very useful.
posted by Ys at 1:12 PM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

The feijoa flower as I remember it is pinkish-white, rather like a fuchsia flower.

Just for clarity's sake, it's not the flower color that matters, it's the parts. Position of the ovary, number of stamens, pistils, and ovarian chambers, and type and number of flower parts present. I'm guessing most of the people here saying Feijoa or Syzigium are doing so because of the four persistent sepals on the end of the ovary that is shown in the picture. They are both members of the Myrtaceae family, whose flowers tend to have numerous stamens and visible sepals on the fruit.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:11 PM on September 1, 2010

if they are red, orange, or yellow...i used to call they cherry guava and they are great. had one in california and they grow all over in hawaii. eat 'em and be happy.
posted by swmobill at 6:14 PM on September 1, 2010

Response by poster: Okay it REALLY looks like that rose apple pic.
posted by rileyray3000 at 8:29 AM on September 2, 2010

Seconding rose apple, as they can be green, not just yellow when ripe and the foliage looks right. They have a great crisp texture, but I hate all things rosewater-flavored, so I give them a 'meh'.
posted by Zimmy at 5:20 PM on September 8, 2010

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