Sunday, December 6, 2009

On 'fruit' and 'trees'

Gardening and cook books often start by using a botanical definition of fruits as containers or walls, formed from an ovaries, for seeds which developed from ovules. Horticulture limits such fruits to edible ones, productive for humans; backyard gardeners and orchardists have narrowed the scope of 'fruit' to a subset which is a culinary, cultural, territory. So, famous fruits, such as tomatoes, do not feature in our list for the same reason that they do not appear in Glowinski's Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia (Lothian, 2006), where only the 'tomato relatives', such as tamarillo and Cape Gooseberries, appear in the Solanaceae chapter. When he comes to discussing what a nut is, Glowinski throws up his arms: 'A nut is whatever is usually considered a nut'!
If we plead common confusions round the meaning of fruit, it is not so easy for our network to explain how our list includes not only 'top fruit' grown on trees but also the lovely soft berries that grow on trailing plants and bushes, as well as fruit growing on vines and espaliers. The problem is we inherited the nominal 'tree' in our name and it has stuck, even though we clearly mean plant. Sorry!

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We can harvest a wide range of fruits and nuts locally each season.

Local fruit and/or nut gardeners are invited to make additions or suggest modifications to the following work-in-progress compiled by Lizzie Connor.


Across the mountains: loquat, mulberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late spring) raspberry

Best in the lower mountains: avocado, jaboticaba, lemonade


Across the mountains: apricot, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, currant (red, black, white), gooseberry, kumquat, loganberry, loquat, mulberry,nectarine, peach, plum, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late summer) almond, apple, fig, hazelnut, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), pomegranate, youngberry

Best in lower mountains:lemon (Eureka), lemonade, lime, mandarin, orange, persimmon (non-astringent) and (in late summer) avocado, babaco, macadamia, rockmelon, wampee, watermelon

Best in upper mountains: jostaberry, lemon (Meyer), persimmon (astringent)


Across the mountains: almond, apple, chestnut, feijoa, fig, grape, hazel, kiwi fruit, kumquat, medlar, olive, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), plum, quince, raspberry (some), rhubarb, strawberry, strawberry guava, walnut

Best in lower mountains: avocado, babaco, cherimoya, grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), macademia, monstera deliciosa, orange, pine nut, pistachio, rockmelon, tamarillo, walnut, watermelon, white sapote

Best in upper mountains: lemon (Meyer), mandarin (Satsuma)


Across the mountains: apple, hazelnut, kiwi fruit, kumquat, pear (incl. nashi)

Best in lower mountains: grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), orange, tangelo

Best in upper mountains: avocado (Bacon), lemon (Meyer)