Forbidden Fruit

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Surely this is the best protected fruit in the tree world. It is another shot of one of the monkey puzzle trees in Ross Bay cemetery. Previously I have shown a different and more elegant view of this tree here, as well as macro abstractions of one in Beacon Hill Park here. I am a bit surprised to not have posted more often, nor since November last year, as the trees are pretty common in my area, and fascinating subjects.

From what I can see in a quick internet search, this is a female tree. Monkey Puzzle trees are either male or female, but not both. The fruit on the female takes 2 to 3 years to mature.

This luxury of time must be afforded by the inaccessibility of fruit to hungry creatures. The second picture is a crop from the first.

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Canon 5Dii, Canon 50mm/f1.4 lens, ISO100, f11, 1/125th. Single image tone-mapped.

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18 thoughts on “Forbidden Fruit

  1. Lovely textures and details in this set, my friend, well done! I found my mind was mesmerized by these shots, working through all the shapes, lines and shadows that are magically shared. I love all the details that the tone mapping process brings out, great work here my friend!

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    • Hi Karen – thank you for your kind words. I find these trees to be very welcoming of post-processing as they quickly become abstract, such as the macros linked above from Beacon Hill park.

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      • They are not a succulent, but an evergreen tree. I associate them somehow with British gardening – perhaps because I saw a lot of them in England when I lived there, and lots of them here which used to be very English a hundred years ago. The wikipedia entry would suggest that there are much better climates for it to grow in that I think are found in Texas.

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  2. I fell madly in love with the Monkey Puzzle tree when we moved to the PNW. I had no idea they made fruit. Thank you for this look at a an old friend.

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  3. Wow! I’ve never seen one flower before. One of my favorite trees. I’ll be looking a lot more closely at mature monkey trees from now on. Great shot.

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    • Hi David – I think this is the fruit, a mature fruit as it had gone brown. In the first year or two of the life of the fruit they are green – others can be seen in this photo near the ends of some branches, but those ones were mostly green.

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  4. I was surprised to learn that these trees can grow to 70 feet tall and 30 feet wide! To my knowledge, there aren’t any in our area (Upstate NY) but they do have an exotic look. This first photo is outstanding and the high contrast is used to good advantage.

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    • I think that this one is getting up to that kind of size – it is likely to be about 120 years old as part of the formal planting of the original cemetery layout. The distribution of recommended planting sites for this species in the USA includes the western edge of the western states, all or parts of the most southern states and a narrow fringe along the southern half of the eastern states, so I am not surprised you don’t have them in Upstate NY. This link has a map of the recommended planting range in your country. In Canada, I would think that the coastal fringe of southern British Columbia would be the only likely place it would grow. My partner, being born in Argentina where there are natural forests of these trees, is very partial to them and so we have a small one in our front garden bed. They are relatively common in Victoria parks and gardens.

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