Buddha’s Hand - Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis

This strange fruit is commonly known as Buddha’s Hand and also as Fingered Citron. It is a citron variety scientifically named Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis (Sapindales - Rutaceae). 

The 6- to 12-inch fruits split longitudinally at the end opposite the stem, as the carpels separate into segments that look somewhat like human fingers, hence its common name. The fruits are similar to lemons, but with flesh that is less acid and peels that are thicker and more fragrant. 

While the actual location of origin is unknown, it is believed that Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis originated in Northeastern India and was possibly the first citrus to be brought to Europe by Greek and Roman explorers.

In China the Buddha’s Hand symbolizes happiness and long life, and in Japan is a popular gift at New Year’s, for it is believed to bestow good fortune on a household.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Alan Buckingham | Locality: Isole di Brissago Botanic Garden, Ticino, Switzerland, 2014 - [Top] - [Bottom]

Acer palmatum (Thunb., 1783) :
- イロハモミジ ;
- Érable palmé - Érable japonais lisse ;
- Japanese maple -Smooth Japanese-maple ;
- Arce japonés palmeado - Arce palmado japonés - Arce japonés
- Arce polimorfo ;
- Acero giapponese ;
- Fächer-Ahorn ;
- Japanse esdoorn

Maple Sunset / Steven Severinghaus / (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) 

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Big Tooth Maple - Acer grandidentatum

The Bigtooth Maple or Canyon Maple, Acer grandidentatum (Sapindales - Sapindaceae), is a native tree of moist, mountainous sites from southeastern Idaho, throughout Utah, western Colorado, portions of Arizona and New Mexico, and scattered locations in northern Mexico, southwestern Texas, and western Oklahoma.

Leaves of Canyon maple look much like sugar maple leaves, with three to five lobes and a dark green color. Fall color is spectacular, varying from yellow to orange to red and lasting quite a while. This fall color variation may be partly genetically controlled and partly dependent on environmental conditions.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Doug Sherman | Locality: Oak Creek Canyon, Harding Springs Trail, Arizona, US (2013)

The Golden Apples of the Sun

Robert Graves’ novel Hercules, My Shipmate, his iconoclastic retelling of the tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece, opens with an encounter with the Orange Nymph, priestess of the sacred Orange Grove, on Majorca, the Balearic island off the Mediterranean coast of Spain, which Graves portrays as a last bastion of matriarchal civilization and Goddess worship in a rapidly patriarchalizing world.

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Boronia heterophylla | ©Philip Bouchard  (California, US)

These pink flowers belong to Boronia heterophylla (Sapindales - Rutaceae), an upright bushy shrub with aromatic dark green leaves and dark pink flowers.

Boronia heterophylla is native to western Australia, a region with a Mediterranean climate of mild winters and dry summers, similar to coastal California.

The common name for this shrub is Red Boronia or Kalgan Boronia [1], although this cultivar is obviously pink instead of red. This species is grown commercially in Australia and California [2].

Name: Dracontomelon macdonaldii

Location: Los Santos State, Panama, Búcaro Formation

Age:34-41 million years ago, Paleogene Period (Eocene Epoch)

This fossil of Dracontomelon macdonaldii comes from Panama, from a time when Central America was an island. It is eleven thousand miles from where you would expect to find it, across the Pacific Ocean from the home of its living relatives.

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Aniseed Boronia - Boronia crenulata “Shark Bay” 

Boronia crenulata (Sapindales - Rutaceae) is a small shrub native to South-West Australia, produces masses of pink-purple-red flowers. It is commonly named Aniseed Boronia because its small leaves are aromatic.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Philip Bouchard (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) | Locality: Shark Bay, Western Australia, AUstralia (2008)