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  Taccarum fruit.
From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2000.10.15 at 18:33:50(5561)
Just a note to share an interesting experience I had this AM while cleaning
the ripe fruit of a Taccarum weddellianum which I pollinated earlier this
year at my friend Bobby`s collection. As you may have read, I had the luck
some time ago to also clean the ripe fruit of Synandrospadix vermitoxicus,
another genus that belongs in the same in the Tribe Spathicarpeae.

The berries of Taccarum were large scarlet-red in color, about the size,
color and shape of a 'cherry' tomato, and had a thin, papery skin. Under
this skin were the individual fruit, between five and six, arranged almost
exactly like the segments of a mandarin orange when its skin is removed.
They had a red, fleshy, thick, and very moist outer layer, tasted (!)
sweet, pleasant. Most fruit contained one seed enclosed in a tough membrane
which I had to puncture and slit with a sharp, pointed knife, but several
contained two seeds within one fruit. In some berries there would be one
or two or three fruit that though juicy, did not contain a seed.

In contrast, the fruit of Synandrospadix ripened a pale yellow, and were
juicy and also sweet, BUT each seed had a conspicuous cream-white tough
fleshy structure on its end, this structure is called a strophiole, which is
thought to be a food attractant to vectors, perhaps in this case ants.
This strophiole was not present in Taccarum.
It is interesting to note that in Taccarum a single fruit/segment could
contain two viable seed, contrary to the description of the Tribe of having
only one ovule per ovary locule (except Mangonia).
It is also interesting to speculate what the vector could be that is
attracted to, eats, and so distributes these fruit. The color red, the
fleshy sweet tasting fruit, and the large seeds with a thin outer covering
seem to point to a bird with a rapid digestion that would pass these rather
delicate seed through and out in a short time. Does anyone out there has
any ides as to what this bird (or mammal?) could be??



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