Friday, April 13, 2007

Magnolia Fruits

As you know I am a big magnolia fan and last year I announced the winner of the first annual Magnolia of the Year award. But it has recently become clear to me that I haven't really been paying attention to magnolias except for the obvious showy flowering season. I never knew they also have fabulous fruits, photographed here by Al. In my own defense, I think they don't fruit every year or surely I would have noticed them before. The wax eyes, grey warblers and thrushes have been waiting for this big event and are holding a magnolia fruit festival in the backyard of our current housesit, where one tree is incredibly heavily laden.

They are feasting on fruits that look like a cross between a purple kumera tuber and giant red raspberry. Each raspberry coloured nodule on the ripe fruit eventually bursts open to reveal a fiery orange berry, shaped like a pomegranate segment but opaque and glossy. These berries dangle enticingly from a fine yet strong white thread. Inside the thin skin is a juicy, creamy, citrus-scented flesh surrounding a large seed looking like a shiny black valentine.

I ask you, how much better can this tree get? Well, according to Megan, who is a scientist and should know, they are a prehistoric tree that has been doing their glorious thing for millions of years. Makes me glad to be able to take a turn as a resident of Planet Earth.

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