Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dragonfruit Flower

Obviously I have been rather absent for the last week or so, and with no previous notice. I had to spend some time in Denver with my parents, and it was not at the top of my list of priorities to update my blog. I appreciate those of you who have still been checking in here, and reassure you that regular posting will begin again forthwith.

I do give fair warning, however, that I am currently very happy with my island home, and find it much harder to write entertainingly about the BVI when I am happy here. As a result, you may be subjected to lots of drivel about how lovely things are, and little ranting about utilities or immigration or other similar items.

Onward! Upon my return from Denver, there was a lovely surprise waiting for me in the garden. Our landlords have thoughtfully planted a dragonfruit tree (or pitaya) just near the gate to our residence. Ordinarily, the dragonfruit tree, with its spiny, reaching limbs, garner only our occasional annoyance as we try not to stab ourselves in the eye while entering or exiting the garden. But sometimes, for just a few nights a year, we are rewarded with its extraordinary blossoms.

These astounding flowers are approximately 8 inches in diameter, literally as big as my face, and open for just one night only. Last summer, when we moved in to the apartment, we happened upon one when returning from the bar late one night, but it had withered and died by the time we awoke the next morning. Since I've been back, three have opened, and there is another bud awaiting the right moment.

Unfortunately, we are unlikely to get any dragon fruit from this plant. With blossoms open for only one night, a pollinator would have to fly from this plant, to another one nearby that is also flowering, within the confines of one evening, in order to produce fruit. Although I'm sure there are other pitayas on Tortola, I've never seen one myself, so I'm doubtful this one will be pollinated. The flowers alone are satisfying enough, though.

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