You can subscribe to this blog

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Decaisnea fargesii, Dead Man's Fingers, Lardizabalaceae

Mention the word 'autumn' and what colours spring to mind?  Most likely crimson, scarlet, orange, yellow, russet, gold ......... but probably not blue. But that's the colour of the eye-catching fruits of Decaisnea fargesii, ripening in Durham University Botanic Garden today.

This large shrub has attractive, long, pinnate leaves ........

...... grey-green below .....

....... and darker green above, but it's those fruits that make it special. It's hardy so I'm surprised it's not more widely planted. The colour of the pods is most vivid on sunny days, so must be partly due to the reflective properties of the pod surface, in addition to the underlying pigmentation. 

The seeds are surrounded by a jelly-like pulp that's said to be edible but insipid.

Decaisnea fargesii comes from western China