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  Re: [aroid-l] aroid fruit
From: MossyTrail at cs.com on 2003.07.26 at 00:48:04(10438)
"Peter C Boyce" wrote:

>On the last point, very frequently the ripe fruits are 'protected' by
>various irritant crystals and/or chemicals and in Europe red and
>orange-berried Arum and Dracunculus are both irritant and poisonous with
>there being several deaths recorded resulting from children ingesting Arum
>maculatum and A. italicum berries. So, remember that attractive colour,
>smell & taste doesn't always man that the fruit are safe to ingest - I'd
>recommend that you proceed carefully!
Do those Arum spp. have attractive tate, or only smell and colour? Small children (how small were they?) are known to ingest things experimentally, rather than because they taste good.

On a similar note, birds' digestion is very different from ours, and it may be that certain fruits are designed to attract birds, while at the same time protect against mammals. The "hot" flavor of chile peppers is an example of this -- birds can eat chiles without the irritation experienced by mammals, because their mouths are drier. Small fruits like berries are more likely to be bird-dispered, while larger fruits like apples and oranges are more likely to be mammal-dispersed.

Jason Hernandez

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