October 14, 2009

What a Show!

I was climbing into my truck to head to work and had to pause as I got a glimpse of something blooming in a nearby garden. The culprit was this Persekia aculeata that I recently received from a plant give-away. This unusual looking spiny plant is known by many names including West Indian Gooseberry, lemon vine, sweet Mary, leaf cactus, blade apple, Barbados gooseberry and many others. The plant is an erect woody shrub becoming vinelike with age. The plant is deciduous and has waxy leaves. The greenish white flowers are about one to one and one half inches in diameter and are quite numerous. The small tart fruits have a yellow to red leathery skin. This plant thrives with very little care and is very drought tolerant. If you find a neighbor that has one, you can propagate it from seed or cuttings. This is a tropical plant, so keep it protected from freezing.