Saturday, 2 August 2008

Pano'on - Local Candy - Bromeliad or What?

Pano'on was, so far as I knew, a bromeliad that grows in the local forests. I'd never actually seen one in the wild, so I couldn't say much more about it.

It anyone reading this can identify it for me, please do so.

If I was right, then this was a close relative of the pineapple. If I was wrong, then it's more likely a close relative of corn. Either way, bromeliad or corn, it probably came from South America, so I couldn't work out why it was growing (only) wild here.

It's sought after for its tiny fruit, lined up like a corncob. They taste both tart and sweet, and are very much liked, around here, as sweet snacks.pano on zingiber bud

The pod grows with many arils (?) each of which has a bunch of berries, shaped like a miniature corn cob.
This one is unripe, but it shows the 'arils', and the arrangement of seeds. The part of the 'bud' above the seed pods is full of watery 'nectar'.

pano on zingiber

So I asked my 'major domo', Ron, to go out to the jungle and find some pano'on growing naturally, as they are wont to do. And he came back with some wild plants, now in my garden, and some strange photos.

It seems that the buds grow almost straight out of the ground, and are then followed by very tall growths of lily-like leaves.

The last photo here is of a bunch of Pano'on plants trying to survive in my garden.

pano on zingiber leavesPerhaps you can tell that I don't have green fingers.

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