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Jarilla caudata


Jarilla caudata is a rather unspectacular plant and papaya relative with quite extraordinary and highly unusual fruits. An upright or creeping, dry deciduous, herbaceous perennial, native to Mexico and Central America, where it grows in xerophytic scrubland and deciduous forests, at elevations between 1500 and 2000 m. Similar to Jarilla heterophylla, it produces a succulent tuber that holds green or purplish-green stems branching from the base with oval to lanceolate leaves and whitish flowers with occasional streaks of purple. The flowers are followed by oblong to elliptical fruits that can reach up to 30 cm in length, with long, horn like projections. They are mottled in lighter and darker shades of green and turn yellow when ripe while the "horns" turn purplish. The fruits are edible and occasionally found in local markets. Soft fruits are eaten raw while fully mature ones are used to make a refreshing beverage from their juice. According to one old Mexican recipe, Jarilla caudata fruits can also be used to make preserves and they are especially delicious when combined with coconut. This relative of the papaya will grow well in most warm temperate climates to at least USDA Zone 9 and even survive some drought and cold. It would be an interesting species for hybridization with other papaya relatives.

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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.


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We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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