Honey-locust – Gleditsia triacanthos

Honey-locust trees are not native to North America’s west coast, where I hail from, and as I haven’t spent much time in the eastern or central US, I hadn’t seen one in the wild before. I first came across a honey-locust tree at the the Botanical Garden of the University of Hamburg (Botanischer Garten der Universität Hamburg) in Germany.

It is an imposing thing, with its tall, monolithic bole, many thorns swarming around the trunk in fiendish clusters. They are long, rigid, cruelly sharp, and difficult to break off. Certainly not a tree I’d like to stumble into unawares! Continue reading “Honey-locust – Gleditsia triacanthos”

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Thimbleberry – Rubus parviflorus

Introduction

It was at age eight that I proudly declared to my mother, “Mom, when I grow up, I’m going to be a thimbleberry farmer!”

My dream was to have a huge thimbleberry farm, and grow enough that I could make jams and pies and eat my fill as often as I wanted. Ever practical, my mother informed me that farmers don’t make a lot of money, and anyway I didn’t have any land on which to start a farm (or capital with which to acquire land). This deterred me somewhat, though to this day I secretly harbor a desire to popularize this delicious fruit, with its unforgettable flavor and texture. Maybe one day I will be able to retire to a large, sunny plot with an ample water supply and breed thimbleberries which prolifically bear large and flavorful fruits. Continue reading “Thimbleberry – Rubus parviflorus”

California Buckeye – Aesculus californica

Background

In June of 2015, I visited Cambridge University Botanic Garden for the first time. CUBG is a beautiful and well-tended garden which holds, among other things, nine National Plant Collections. A National Plant Collection is a group of species and cultivated varieties (cultivars) that are of great historical, horticultural, or reference value in the UK.

Amongst all the interesting and unusual plants which were new to me, I was delighted to run into a friend who I knew very well from back home in California – the California Buckeye. Continue reading “California Buckeye – Aesculus californica”

Bone Apple – Osteomeles schwerinae

Background

In the spring of 2015, on a visit to a garden in California, I saw a plant (pictured above) which was unfamiliar to me and took a photo. Two years later, as I was idly flicking through a book of edible plants, its name jumped out at me, and I decided to do a little research. Continue reading “Bone Apple – Osteomeles schwerinae”