Does anybody know which Podocarpus this is? Or is Podocarpus one of those species with so many cultivars that it's not worth identifying? Or am I mistaken in assuming this is a Podocarpus at all? I've been unable to match this Podocarpus species with any online pics so far.
This tree has been in fruit the last several days in January/winter around San Diego, though I don't recall ever seeing that type of fruit on a Podocarpus before. The fruit is yellowish, about the size of olives except spherical, and comes in clusters. The trees with fruit often appear in the same row as trees without fruit, so maybe the tree has different sexes. I've seen these trees planted in rows along both residential streets and business streets around San Diego and La Mesa in Southern California.
Thanks, Darwiniensis and Resin. That must be the one: very close match on those photos.
I tried to find out if the fruit is edible. Apparently most Podocarpus are "edible" but "slightly toxic", which is weird...
The red, purple or bluish fleshy fruit of most species of Podocarpus are edible, raw or cooked into jams or pies, and they have a mucilaginous texture with a slightly sweet flavor. However, the fruit are slightly toxic and should therefore be eaten sparingly, especially when eaten raw.
Try tasting one or two. Remember though this is an Afrocarpus, not a Podocarpus (same family, different genus). Unlike Podocarpus where the seed is outside the fleshy part, in Afrocarpus, the seed is enclosed inside the flesh. I've never heard of any of the Podocarpaceae having toxic 'cone' pulp before, but the seeds may be toxic, so don't swallow them.
Would you be able to collect a few? I'd be interested in some if possible ;-)
Yes, I'd be happy to ship some fresh California Afrocarpus to you in England. E-mail me here. Until I can find specific info on that particular species, though, I'm going to be afraid to taste the fruit. If you want, you can be the first in this forum to taste them and to report back the results... if you don't need to make a one-way hospital visit first, of course.
Thanks again for your help, and let me know by e-mail the quantity, size, packaging, etc. you want.
i "think" i collected some of these fruits and cuttings while down in Newport beach and i did taste the fruit.. it is slightly sweet, but mostly its astringent like a persimmon that is not ripe... i can see how it could be cooked down or made into a preserve or jelly. The taste is semi reminiscent of a date, banana and a persimmon all rolled into one. Are the seeds inside bumpy and round?
Quoting:I see you are a cautious man when it comes to potentially toxic pulp... but not slime.
It's nice that people remember me on this forum for tasting those slimy manjack fruits, but there's a big difference between repulsive fruit and toxic fruit.
Quoting:Are the seeds inside bumpy and round?
I didn't notice the seeds inside but I'll cut open one of the fruit I saved and report back, probably this afternoon. I did notice a lot of bare seeds without the pulp lying around on the ground underneath the trees, but they looked like olive pits from a distance. I also noticed a lot of new Afrocarpus spouts emerging from the ivy surrounding the tree, so apparently it's a prolific tree.
Below is another pic of a full tree, a Costco store in the background and Rosmarinus officinalis inderneath.
Ever tried Decaisnea fargesii? They're edible, but often thought repulsive ;-)
No, but I'll try anything once if it's edible.
By the way, I cut open one of those Afrocarpus fruit this afternoon. Sure enough, the pits have tiny spike-like protrusions all over them. The fruit actually look pretty tasty, since they get more reddish as the flesh of the fruit approaches the pit, sort of like a peach. But since some genera have a mixture of edible and inedbile/toxic species (Solanum and Ficus come to mind), I want to be 100% sure of any species I'm eating.
Just tried tasting one of the ones Fruticosa sent me (thanks!!), and it was revolting . . . very astringent, no flavour. But that may just be that they're not fully ripe (as with unripe persimmons), so it isn't a valid test. I'll try again in a few days when they are a bit more dried out.
Wow.. thats great that you got to try it.. I agree, its very astringent, but i bet it is tastey mixed with pectin , sugar and that seed pod.. to make a jelly or paste? Perhaps after cooking it the astringent goes away? im not a Dr.. but i do undestand that Astringent quality is very important to tighten loose veins and can increase cicrulation, helping to adjust the issue of capillary permiability.. spider veins and venous insufficency, a part of aging... tightens skin too.. maybe it would make a good face mask to tighten loose facial skin and address issue of wrinkles.