Chinese Jujube is an interesting deciduous tree with spiny, gnarled branches and an open, irregular form. Growing at a moderate pace, Chinese Jujube reaches anywhere from 15 to 35 feet in height with a spread of 10 to 30 feet and can be trained to a single trunk. Most unpruned plants grow with several trunks. The mottled gray/black bark is rough and shaggy. The one to two-inch-long leaves have a paler underside and sharp spines at the base of each leaf. Fall color is often a showy yellow, but not consistent. In spring, small clusters of yellow or white, fragrant blossoms appear, hidden in foliage between the leaf and stems. The one-inch-long green fruits ripen to dark red and finally black. Eaten either fresh, candied, canned, or dried like dates, these fruits are quite sweet. Even young, two-year-old trees are able to produce these delectable treats but be forewarned that these fruits can create quite a litter problem. Locate the tree so the fruit drops in a mulch bed or on the lawn, not on a sidewalk, patio or driveway.
Pomegranates can be grown in tropical to warm temperate climates. However, the best quality pomegranate fruits are produced in regions with cool winters and hot, dry sum - mers. Few areas are too hot, and the pomegranate is more cold hardy (receives less damage) than citrus. Pomegranates vary in frost tolerance, but in some cases temperatures down to 10°F may not severely injure the plants. Several hundred hectares are cultivated in California and a small commercial industry existed in Florida during the 1800’s.
Normally a dense, bushy, deciduous shrub, 2-4 m (6-12 ft.) tall, the plant has slender, somewhat thorny branches. It may be trained as a small tree reaching 7 m (20 ft.) in height. Pomegranate is an attractive ornamental.
Pomegranate leaves are glossy, dark green, oblong to oval, 2.5-3 cm (1-1.25 in.) long. Leaves are arranged opposite or nearly so and clustered on short branchlets.
Blooms are a flaming orange-red, 4-6 cm (1.5-2.5 in.) in diameter with crinkled petals and numerous stamens. Flowers are borne solitary or in small clusters angled towards the end of branchlets.
Pomegranates are brownish-yellow to purplish-red berries 5 - 12 cm (2-5 in.) in diameter with a smooth, leathery skin. Fruits are spherical, somewhat flattened, with a persistent calyx. The calyx may be 1-6 cm (1.5-2.5 in.) long. Numerous seeds are each surrounded by a pink to purplish-red, juicy, subacid pulp (arils) which is the edible portion. The pulp is somewhat astringent. Pomegranates in North Florida mature from July to November, but may produce year round in South Florida.
Bambara groundnut is a popular crop in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa. Its cultivation seems to have preceded the introduction of the common groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), of American origin. In many traditional farming systems, it is found intercropped with cereals and root and tuber crops. Bambara groundnut is reported to have been carried as far as India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, New Caledonia and South America, particularly Brazil (Rassel 1960), but it seems that the present degree of cultivation outside Africa is negligible.
Bambara groundnut is a herbaceous, intermediate, annual plant, with creeping stems at ground level. Differences in the length of internodes result in bunched, intermediate (semi-bunched) and spreading types. The general appearance of the plant is bunched leaves arising from branched stems which form a crown on the soil surface. Stem branching begins very early, about 1 week after germination, and as many as 20 branches may be produced. Each branch is made up of internodes, and those near the base are shorter than the more distant ones. The plant has a welldeveloped tap root with profuse geotropic lateral roots. The roots form nodules for nitrogen fixation, in association with appropriate rhizobia. Leaf and flower buds arise alternately at each node. Leaves are pinnately trifoliate, glabrous with erect petiole, thickened at the base. Two stipels subtend the terminal leaflet, while only one is assigned to each of the two lateral leaflets. The oval leaflets are attached to the rachis with marked pulvini. The terminal leaflet is slightly larger than the lateral leaflets, with an average length of 6 cm and an average width of 3 cm.
Amaranth, Chinese spinach, spiny pigweed, Joseph's-coat (En); amarante, épinard malabar, épinard piquant (Fr); amarantos, moco de pavo, blero (Sp); 莧菜 (Cn)
A. tricolor, A. dubius, A. blitum, A. gangeticus, A. spinosus, A. viridis
All tropical and subtropical regions
Annual herb up to 130 cm tall; stems erect, branched, angular, hairless to sparsely hairy, soft, juicy; leaves alternate, elliptic or ovate, 5-10 cm, soft-textured, golden yellow to dark green, some with red markings; inflorescence axillary, cluster up to 2.5 cm wide and 20 cm long; flowers sessile, minute and inconspicuous, unisexual, male and female intermixed; fruit one-seeded utricles; seeds 0.5-1.5 mm diameter, shining black or brown, faintly netted; epigeal germination.
The chupa-chupa tree is fast-growing, erect, to 130 or even 145 ft (40-45 m) high in the wild, though often no more than 40 ft (12 m) in cultivation. It is sometimes buttressed; has stiff branches in tiered whorls of 5; and copious gummy yellow latex. The semi-deciduous, alternate, long-petioled leaves, clustered in rosettes near the ends of the branches, are broadly heart-shaped, normally 6 to 12 in (15-30 cm) long and nearly as wide. Short-stalked, yellowish-white or rose-tinted, 5-petalled flowers, about 1 in (2.5 cm) wide, with 5 conspicuous, protruding stamens and pistil, are borne in masses along the lesser branches and on the trunk. The fruit is rounded, ovoid or elliptic with a prominent, rounded knob at the apex and is capped with a 2- to 5-lobed, velvety, leathery, strongly persistent calyx at the base; 4 to 5 3/4 in (10-14.5 cm) long and to 3 3/16 in (8 cm) wide, and may weigh as much as 28 oz (800 g). The rind is thick, leathery, greenish-brown, and downy. The flesh, orange-yellow, soft, juicy, sweet and of agreeable flavor surrounds 2 to 5 seeds, to 1 1/2 in (4 cm) long and 1 in (2.5 cm) wide, from which long fibers extend through the flesh.
The vine is fast-growing, large, coarse, herbaceous but woody at the base, arising from a fleshy root that becomes enlarged with age, and climbing trees to a height of 33 to 50 ft (10-15 m) or even 150 ft (45 m) in Java. It has thick 4-angled stems prominently winged on the angles, and axillary tendrils to 12 in (30 cm) long, flanked by leaflike, ovate or ovate-lanceolate stipules 3/4 to 1 3/8 in(2-3.5 cm) long, sometimes faintly toothed. The alternate leaves are broad-ovate or oblong-ovate, 3 1/4 to 6 in (8.25-15 cm) wide, 4 to 8 in (10-20 cm) long; rounded or cordate at the base, abruptly pointed at the apex, sometimes toothed near the base; thin, with conspicuous veins sunken on the upper surface, prominent beneath. The solitary, fragrant flowers, up to 4 3/4 or 5 in (12-12.5 cm) wide, have a bell-shaped calyx, the 5 sepals greenish or reddish-green on the outside, white, pink or purple inside; the 5 petals, to 1 3/4 in (4.5 cm) long, white-and-pink; the corona filaments 2-ranked, to 2 3/8 in (6 cm) long, purple-and-white below, blue in the middle, and pinkish-blue above, around the typical complex of pistil, style and stigmas.
The pleasantly aromatic, melon-like fruit is oblong-ovoid, 4 3/4 to 6 in (12-15 cm) wide, and 8 to 12 in (10-30 cm) long; may be faintly ribbed or longitudinally 3-lobed; has a thin, delicate skin, greenish-white to pale- or deep-yellow, often blushed with pink. Beneath it is a layer of firm, mealy, white or pink flesh, 1 to 1 1/2 in (2.5-4 cm) thick, of very mild flavor, and coated with a parchment-like material on the inner surface. The central cavity contains some juice and masses of whitish, yellowish, partly yellow or purple-pink, sweet-acid arils (commonly referred to as the pulp), enclosing flattened-oval, purplish-brown seeds to 1/2 in (1.25 cm) long.
Mungbean seeds are sprouted for fresh use or canned for shipment to restaurants. Sprouts are high in protein (21%–28%), calcium, phosphorus and certain vitamins. Because they are easily digested they replace scarce animal protein in human diets in tropical areas of the world. Because of their major use as sprouts, a high quality seed with excellent germination is required. The food industry likes to obtain about 9 or 10 grams of fresh sprouts for each gram of seed. Larger seed with a glassy, green color seems to be preferred.
If the mungbean seed does not meet sprouting standards it can be used as a livestock food with about 1.5 ton of mungbean being equivalent to 1.0 tons of soybean meal for protein content. Feeding trials have been conducted at Oklahoma State University for swine and young calves with good results.
Kangkong, also known as water glorybind, water spinach, water convolvulus, and swamp cabbage, is an important green leafy vegetable in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Malaysia. It is found throughout the fresh waters of southern China, and is cultivated in countries such as Ceylon. Kangkong has not become very popular elsewhere, particularly here in Florida where its production is discouraged. Our climate is favorable, and given wet soil conditions it would produce well here. Tight precautions should be taken to see that it does not become an established weed in our waterways. The Florida Department of Natural Resources must issue a special permit to anyone wanting to grow kangkong.
There are two forms: upland (dry) and swamp (wet). The plant looks somewhat like the pickerel weed of Florida lakes. The slick surfaced leaves are arrowhead-shaped, 5-6 inches long, narrow, and pointed. It is a trailing hollow vine with alternate leaves and vertical branches arising at the leaf axils. The succulent foliage is light green in color and produces a white flower, followed by a four-seeded pod. There are narrow and broadleaf types, some of which look a lot like sweet potato plants.
A somewhat less edible fruit of the family Meliaceae, the langsat, Lansium domesticum Corr., is also known as lansa, langseh, langsep, lanzon, lanzone, lansone, or kokosan, and by various other names in the dialects of the Old World tropics.
The tree is erect, short-trunked, slender or spreading; reaching 35 to 50 ft (10.5 to 15 m) in height, with red-brown or yellow-brown, furrowed bark. Its leaves are pinnate, 9 to 20 in (22.5-50 cm) long, with 5 to 7 alternate leaflets, obovate or elliptic-oblong, pointed at both ends, 2 3/4 to 8 in (7-20 cm) long, slightly leathery, dark-green and glossy on the upper surface, paler and dull beneath, and with prominent midrib. Small, white or pale-yellow, fleshy, mostly bisexual, flowers are home in simple or branched racemes which may be solitary or in hairy clusters on the trunk and oldest branches, at first standing erect and finally pendant, and 4 to 12 in (10-30 cm) in length.
The fruit, borne 2 to 30 in a cluster, is oval, ovoid-oblong or nearly round, 1 to 2 in (2.5-5 cm) in diameter, and has light grayish-yellow to pale brownish or pink, velvety skin, leathery, thin or thick, and containing milky latex. There are 5 or 6 segments of aromatic, white, translucent, juicy flesh (arils), acid to subacid in flavor. Seeds, which adhere more or less to the flesh, are usually present in 1 to 3 of the segments. They are green, relatively large–3/4 to 1 in (2-2.5 cm) long and 1/2 to 3/4 in (1.25-2 cm) wide, very bitter, and sometimes, if the flesh clings tightly to the seed, it may acquire some of its bitterness.
Although the mysteries of its history and origin remain unsolved, worldwide cultivation and high-demand production for citrus fruit (genus Citrus in family Rutaceae) make it stand high among fruit crops. Growth of the citrus industry, including rapid development of the processing technology of frozen concentrated orange juice after World War II, has greatly expanded with international trade and steadily increased consumption of citrus fruits and their products during the past several decades. Characterized by the distinct aroma and delicious taste, citrus fruits have been recognized as an important food and integrated as part of our daily diet, playing key roles in supplying energy and nutrients and in health promotion. With low protein and very little fat content, citrus fruits supply mainly carbohydrates, such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose. Fresh citrus fruits are also a good source of dietary fiber, which is associated with gastrointestinal disease prevention and lowered circulating cholesterol. In addition to vitamin C, which is the most abundant nutrient, the fruits are a source of B vitamins (thiamin, pyridoxine, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and folate), and contribute phytochemicals such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and limonoids. These biological constituents are of vital importance in human health improvement due to their antioxidant properties, ability to be converted to vitamin A (for example, β-cryptoxanthin), and purported protection from various chronic diseases.