Right Steps & Poui Trees


3 Comments

A is for Ackee: An Alphabet of Leaves

An ackee leaf on a morning after rain…

P1420303 ackee leaf

…given the scientific name Blighia sapida by a botanist at Kew Gardens in London in 1806, after the infamous William Bligh of Bounty fame. He wasn’t responsible for bringing the ackee to Jamaica, but for taking it from Jamaica to Kew in 1793. (B. W. Higman, in “Jamaican Food”)P1420302 ackee leaves

The ackee was most likely brought to Jamaica from West Africa by enslaved Africans.

“As a native of Africa, the ackee was familiar to core contingents of enslaved people, and in Jamaica the tree and its fruit have never had any name other than their African derivation, the Kru a-kee. Distinctively associating it with their homelands, the enslaved may have played an active role in the plants dissemination within Jamaica. Whereas former slave village sites contain only the occasional breadfruit tree, some of these abandoned settlements are indicated by large groves of ackee trees.” (Higman, p.154)

P1420298 ackee pods

In our garden, we have both the softer butter ackee and the firmer cheese ackee trees. I much prefer the latter, as the fruit keep their shape during cooking and aren’t as likely to crumble and become mushy.P1420295 ackee branch and fruit

The largest ackee tree we have in the garden is this cheese ackee tree, which sprung up in the spot where a massive male guinep tree had been. That guinep tree was the first to fall during Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 and the ackee sprung up of its own accord, probably from a seed dropped by a passing bird. Bless you, passing bird!P1420304 ackee tree

It is an impressive specimen, though it did get a bit tilted in one of the storms that brushed past us in the years since Gilbert. We never get to eat the fruit from the very top of the tree, however. No stick long enough and no-one spry enough to get there.

“A” is for ackee. That’s good enough for me…


6 Comments

Looking Down: Weekly Photo Challenge – Structure

“We move so briskly through our daily lives, we don’t typically notice the details of the world around us…This week, share with us the structure of something typically overlooked.”

When I am walking along, I don’t often look down, except for a quick glance to avoid tripping on an uneven surface. Dappled light on the ground beneath the trees…P1180863

I pause and take a closer look…at the textured web of tree roots, dried leaves, bits of broken twig…the ground beneath my feet…P1180884

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Structure


2 Comments

Leafy Green: Weekly Photo Challenge – Green

“Sometimes it’s fun to take a step back from interpretive challenges and just celebrate a color: green!”

Perhaps, like me, this week’s challenge reminded you of Kermit the Frog singing:

It’s not that easy being green;

Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.

Leaves…(breadfruit tree)…P1120471…leaves…(lychee tree)…P1120474…and more leaves…(ackee tree)!P1120461

Weekly Photo Challenge – Green