In late summer and early fall, the beautiful, multicolored rainbow shower trees display a stunning display of pink, white, orange and red flowers. These rainbow trees (Cassia x nealiae) are actually a hybrid between the golden shower (Cassia
fistula) and the pink shower (Cassia javanica). There are different
varieties, each with a different array of stunning color combinations: orange,
pink, white, peach and sherbets.
The tree itself is fast growing reaching up to 65 feet high
and spreading branches like an umbrella. It is fairly drought tolerant
but grows best in a hot tropical or subtropical climate. Trees can be propagated by air layering or
grafting and are native
to Southern Asia.
In Hilo, Hawaii, these beautiful trees can be found lining Kamehameha Avenue along Hilo Bay and growing at Liliuokalani Park. In addition, a few other types exist in Hilo:
The white shower tree,
producing creamy white blossoms with a hint of yellow, are also be found in Downtown
The pink shower tree
producing large showy pink flower clusters can be found on the Hawaii Community
The golden shower tree
produces brilliant yellow flowers and can be seen at the Kawamoto Swim Stadium
and near Mo’oheau County Park.
Flower and fruit drop of bell peppers is caused by the pepper weevil. Both the
mature black weevils and the small white worms (the weevil larvae), can often be seen
when the fallen fruit is cut open.Holes
are made in the young pepper and in flower buds either by the feeding of adult
weevils, females laying eggs or by emerging adults. Infested peppers that do not
fall and rot but go on to maturity, will have
blackened seeds and cores as a result of larval feeding. Mature peppers are not
susceptible to weevil attack, because the skin is usually too hard.
Sanitation is very important in
controlling this pest. Remove all peppers that have dropped to the ground. For
the next planting, rotate to another non-solanaceous crop, do not plant tomatoes or eggplant;
control solanaceaous weeds. If weevils increase and cause major
damage to the crop, there are registered pesticides available such as carbaryl
(sevin). Pyrethrin may be acceptable for use on organically certified produce.
Photos: University of Arkansas University of Florida
Monstera deliciosa is a native of
Mexico and Central America. It is a climber that under excellent growing
conditions can reach 70 feet with leaves measuring 3 feet across. It has
aerial roots which cling to a support or will form a dense mat on the ground
when unsupported.The plant grows well
in a well-drained soil, rich in organic matter.
Warning: all parts of this plant
are poisonous. Symptoms include intense burning of mouth, tongue, and throat;
nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur. Furthermore, contact with cell
sap may cause skin irritation. The
edible parts of the plant are only the ripe fruit. Some people, however,
are even allergic to it.For those who
are not allergic, eating large quantities of the fruit at any one time is not
recommended. The toxin is the needle-like calcium oxalate crystals and possibly
other unidentified toxins. This chemical is also found in the taro plant,
rhubarb and other plants in the Araceae family.
Mature fruit that is ready to
harvest will turn from green to a lighter green and the tile-like segments, or
caps at the base of the fruit will begin to separate slightly, making it appear
somewhat bulged. This usually takes place about 12 months after flowering.Fruit may then be cut from the plant, leaving
1 inch or more of the stem. To ripen the fruit, keep it at room temperature for
up to 6 days. Sometimes fruit is placed in a paper bag during the ripening
During this time the fruit will
ripen as the green caps will easily fall from the fruit and expose the edible
portion beneath. Fruit ripens first at the base, moving toward the apex (top).
Do not eat from any section where the caps have not been shed. The pulp should only
be eaten from that portion of the fruit that easily falls off the core (stem).
This is because immature sections of the fruit contain the oxalate crystals
that cause severe discomfort when swallowed. Leave the unripe section in the
paper bag until the next portion is ready to eat. Alternatively, information from Australia indicates that the whole
fruit can be ripened for eating at one time by standing the base in water and
keeping it in the dark for a few days. The ripened pulp may be stored for
several days in the refrigerator before consumption.
In general, monstera is eaten as a
fresh fruit, although the pulp may be used as an ingredient in desserts. It is
said that the ripe fruit taste like a combination of banana, pineapple, and cherimoya
(custard apple). Others add flavors such as grape, strawberry and mango. In
fact, because of these strange all-encompassing flavors, monster is sometimes
called the fruit salad plant.
In addition to the above written description
of the mature fruit, I would urge interested readers to search ‘eating monstera’ on YouTube. There are
some good videos, as the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand
Photos: University of Wisconsin Master Gardener Program