Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Lilikoi Morning

Liliko'i hedge, with heliconia leaves sticking up,
and some large chayote squash vines for good measure. 

There's a large liliko'i (passionfruit) hedge along our neighbor's fence line... which is slightly uphill, and the lilikoi has been climbing over the heliconia, over the ti leaf plants, and climbing now up to the kitchen window, where we put up a bamboo rod along the outside of the window. 

Continue reading about the vine that swallowed our house, green liliko'i, and liliko'i hunting...

Liliko'i continuing from the fence line, on top of ti leaf plants and heliconia,
making its way to the kitchen window and the roof. DH is up on a ladder clearing the gutter, and being attacked by vicious vines. 

It's created a dense lilikoi thicket with heliconia flowers peering out and chayote squash clambering over it. Lilikoi is invasive, but one forgives it because the fruit is so yummy. A sweet and tart flavor, nothing quite like it. There's also Jamaican lilikoi, which has a perfume-y sweetness, but I prefer the common sour sweet variety.  Even the rats like it. They have been chewing into the lilikoi and sucking out the pulp. 

Those darn rats are chewing on the first liliko'i of the season! 

We have to duck walking along the side of the house, because the lilikoi is so thick, it's threatening to engulf the narrow passageway. 

"Underneath" the liliko'i hedge (the one moving toward the kitchen window).
Heliconia flowers and red ti leaf seeds are woven with the vines. 

Fresh fallen liliko'i among the heliconia stalks and fallen leaves,
like hunting for Easter eggs.

This morning, I cut back some of the brown heliconia stalks, cleared some of the old lilikoi vines, and cleared other leaves that got woven in between the lilkoi shoots. Maybe we'll put up a post to prop up the lilikoi better, so the fruit doesn't hit our heads as we walk by. 

After clearing the old vines (which die back) and old heliconia stalks (which also die after flowering), the fruit is revealed.  It's pretty hard fruit, so it can hit your head if you're not careful. 

 Liliko'i, mercifully, or perhaps mercilessly, is easy to grow. It just needs lots of sun, and a place to climb. The skin is very thick, so it's resistant to fruit flies. Yay! It doesn't need a lot of attention. It actually takes more attention to prune it back to keep it from overtaking the yard or smothering other plants. 

Freshly harvested liliko'i, off the ground.
The green fruits are super tart. I no longer recommend using them as substitutes for lemon juice since I've read now that unripe passion fruit can have cyanide (present as cyanogenic glycosides)! (I imagine it would take eating a lot of unripe lilikoi to get  poisoned, but still yet...By the way, cyanide is also present in apple seeds. I've heard you have to chew about a cup of apple seeds to get sick.)

The base of the liliko'i vine.
For months, I couldn't find where the plant had started,
and realized one day I was staring at it. 

 There are also so many other vines here that are invasive and smothering, but don't produce any nice fruit. While clearing out the old heliconia stalks, I also found some of these "doe eye" vines starting up. Doe eyes are more invasive than liliko'i and produce some huge beans that can be used in jewelry making, but I don't like them enough to tolerate what they do in the yard. 

"Doe eye" vine... it's a legume. Purple flowers, big seed pods.
Super invasive. Sorry, don't know the Latin name.

I also saw an anole lizard sunning himself on the papaya tree this morning. Nice day!  Most of last week and yesterday was this murky overcast weather with lots of rain, or the constant threat of rain. We're all trying to dry out here in Ha'iku. 
Anole lizard on the papaya trunk. 


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