'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

My Strawberry Tree


In my garden, strawberries grow in tubs in spring and summer, and on trees in autumn.  
Well, one huge tree, anyway. 

There are quite a few trees that bear red strawberry-looking fruits, but this one is Cornus capitata, also sometimes called 'Evergreen Dogwood', 'Head-flowered Dogwood', 'Bentham's Cornel', and 'Himalayan Strawberry Tree'. 

The Cornus family is quite large, and includes the magnificent dogwood, and in fact the flowers of my tree do look quite a lot like dogwood flowers.   

I have mixed feeling about this tree.  I treasure it because it's a magnificent specimen, and is possibly as old as this house (over 100 years).  

It's also very popular with the birds and I love to see the wax-eyes, black-birds and tuis feasting on the fruit in autumn.  There seems always to be a tui singing up there, proclaiming his pleasantly full crop and joi de vivre.  

 I've posted previously about my strawberry Tree's inhabitants:


But although it's pretty, the fruit is tasteless, although some may consider the proported weak hallucinogenic properties to be worthy of a trial.

A fruit of my Cornus capitata.



Cornus capitata fruit showing size. 
All autumn the lawn under the tree is all manky and squishy with dropped and decomposing fruit ...

Squishy debris.
Cornus capitata seeds.
 ... and the birds drop the seeds far and wide throughout the garden. Except for those that land on the new drive*,  every single one seems to germinate.  They are easily pulled out however.

Seedlings come up very readily from Cornus capitata.

I do like my strawberry tree.  But I'd rather it was a plum tree.


* Mark 4:5

17 comments:

  1. "...some may consider the proported weak hallucinogenic properties to be worthy of a trial" Any chance of a pack of them? It could help me find my muse. My Address:-
    Mr Y.Pudding,
    Pudding Towers,
    Blogland
    Andaman Sea
    AS1 BLT

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  2. I'd be delighted to Yorkie. Please send a self-addressed, stamped, refrigerated container to DeChevalle Villa, Greerton, Sunny Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

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  3. what a strange "Katherine in Wonderland" tree that is.... file under "eat me" and stand by with an emergency "drink me" just in case!

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    1. Foxy - would you believe it if I told you my middle name is 'Alice'?

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  4. Wow they do look like strawberries don't they? I guess there's always a down side to most things and your birds are certainly a very big up so I guess you put up with the manky, squishy mess. Are the flowers another plus in its favour?

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    1. Yes, you're right Helsie, the flowers are rather lovely, and that is another plus. I'll have to see if I have a shot of them (rummages through thousands of iPhotos looking...)

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  5. Weak hallucinogenic properties, you say? You could make a fortune raising and selling those seedlings!

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    1. I really wouldn't know if they are or not Robert... But if you want to establish it once and for all, send a self addressed etc.

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  6. They DO look like strawberries!! Pity they don't taste like them, huh? And probably a shame about the hallucinogenic effects, too! LOL!

    I wonder if the birds hallucinate?

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    1. The birds seem to have a great interest in them for a while, and then nothing for a spell. Maybe they have hang-overs, or whatever the drug equivalent is.
      Our little dog's first autumn she devoured dozens and would growl if we dragged her away, but I never saw her eat them again. Perhaps they give you bad trips.

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  7. thank God for your post. I discovered a heavily laden tree, with these beautiful but mysterious looking hybrids. I picked a few to paint (decided not to try eating them as they didn't smell that inviting....) then the task of finding out what they were, was easy.....google search: 'strawberry peach fruit' and your image came up....mystery over.

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    1. Thanks for leaving a comment Delpha. I'm always glad when a post is useful! May we have a peek of your painting if you are happy with it?

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  8. can I just add to my post that I had no idea you are from New Zealand (and I thought you were called Delphine - bit confused by blogs though have a couple.....) the tree I found today was in Mousehole, Cornwall, England!x

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  9. Delphine... I think I wrote a post entitled 'What's with the Delphine Angua?' if you are overcome with a sudden irresistable urge to follow up on the name.
    And as for Mousehole, that has been a place on my list to visit for ever! Maybe on my next trip to The Rest of The World.

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  10. could I purchase some fruit or seeds?

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  11. Could I purchase some seeds and a few pieces of next harvest.

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    Replies
    1. Sonya, you can have HOWEVER MANY seeds you desire! Where are you? Would you like to email me: katherine.steeds@gmail.com and we can continue this conversation.

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