Maui December 2013 Trip #5
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Part 5: Maui Fruits
Note: Many species of fruit trees from tropical southeast Asia, Africa and South America are grown in the Hawaiian Islands. In fact, some have become naturalized on these islands.

Assorted fruits from Farmer's Market in Kihei. From left: Ice cream bean (Inga edulis) Fabaceae; Rear: Chupa-chupa (Quararibea cordata) Bombacaceae = Malvaceae and papaya (Carica papaya) Caricaceae; Front: Longan (Euphoria longana) and rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) Sapindaceae.

Chupa-chupa or South American sapote (Quararibea cordata), a member of the Bombacaceae = Malvaceae. A tree native to the Amazonian rain forest of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. According to Stephen Facciola (Cornucopia II, 1998), "the flavor is reminiscent of a very sweet pumpkin, with overtones of mango and apricot."

Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) Moraceae

Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) Moraceae.

The breadfruit is native to Polynesia where it is baked, boiled or fried as a starchy, potato-like vegetable and made into bread, pie and puddings. In 1789 Britain sent Captain Bligh on the H.M.S. Bounty to Tahiti to collect breadfruit cuttings for introduction into the New World colonies. Enchanted with the Tahitian way of life, the crew mutinied on the return voyage, putting Bligh off at sea in a small boat with 18 loyal followers. Bligh and his men survived a 3,618-nautical mile, 41-day trip to the East Indies. Undaunted, he returned to Tahiti on a second voyage and successfully introduced breadfruits into the West Indies in 1793.

Macadamia nut (Macadamia integrifolia) Proteaceae

Macadamia nut (Macadamia integrifolia) Proteaceae.

Two views of a mature macadamia seed (Macadamia integrifolia). The left view shows the hilum where the seed was attached to the inner ovary (pericarp) wall. The right view shows a white dot that represents the micropyle region where the pollen tube entered the ovule wall (integument layer) prior to double fertilization.

A Hawaiian macadamia nut necklace made from the woody seeds of Macadamia integrifolia. Polished macadamia nuts are typically blond or light brown, compared with glossy, dark brown or black kukui nut necklaces.

Coffee (Coffea arabica) Rubiaceae

Banana (Musa x paradisiaca) Musaceae

The cultivated banana is often listed in botanical references as Musa x paradisiaca (Musaceae), although it is actually a complex hybrid derived from two diploid Asian species, M. acuminata and M. balbisiana. Common cultivated bananas are usually triploid (3n) with three sets of chromosomes. [Note: The word "set" is defined here as one haploid set of chromosomes.] If A represents one set of chromosomes from diploid M. acuminata (AA) and B represents one set of chromosomes from diploid M. balbisiana (BB), then hybrid bananas have three sets of chromosomes represented by AAB, ABB or another 3-letter (triploid) combination of A's and B's. Like seedless watermelons and red grapes, bananas are sterile and do not produce mature seeds. [Sometimes you can find aborted ovules inside the fruit that appear like tiny black dots.] Bananas are sterile and seedless because they are odd polyploids in which one set of chromosomes (A or B) has no homologous set to pair up with during synapsis of meiosis. Therefore meiosis does not proceed normally, and viable gametes (sex cells) are not produced. Since banana fruits (technically berrylike ripened ovaries) develop without fertilization they are termed parthenocarpic. Without viable seeds, banana plants must be propagated vegetatively (asexually) by planting corms, pieces of corms or sucker sprouts.

Hala (Pandanus tectorius ) Pandanaceae