Plants used for Food

By Patrick Janeway


African Cucumber

The African Cucumber or Cucumis metuliferus is native to Kalahari Desert. The African cucumber, horned melon or melano is a fruit that can be best described as melon with horns. It originated in the Kalahari Desert and is now present in California and New Zealand. The dark green pulp reminds one of bananas, limes, passion fruit and cucumber. It is often used for decorating food but also in smoothies and sundaes. The seeds are covered in a gelatin-like substance. The skin is especially rich in vitamin C and fiber which will make your bones stronger. Before being eaten, adding a small amount of salt or sugar can increase the flavor.


Pitaya Fruit, Hylocereus undatus or commonly known as the Dragon fruit is among the most nutritious and wonderful exotic fruits. It is a favourite to lots of people particularly people of an Asian heritage. It features a mouth watering sweet taste, an intense shape and colour, not forgetting its magnificent flowers. Despite the fact that people avert and dislike bats, they play a very important role in the pollination and formation of these dragon fruit cactus plants. This is because the dragon fruit cactus plant will only come out successfully after a complete pollination process. Note that even dragon fruit plants that carry out self pollination fail to create a dragon fruit cactus if they don’t get the assistance of the bats.


Yangmei, also called red bayberry, yamamomo or Myrica rubra , is a type of sweet fruit native to Asia. It is almost unheard of in the United States, although the tree can be found growing along many urban streets. The fruit is very high in vitamin C which will help your body fight deseases and has been cultivated for thousands of years in China, where today it is eaten raw, fermented into alcoholic beverages, and used to produce a distinct reddish dye that is extracted from the bark of the tree.

The tree grows up to 10 meters in temperate environments. The yangmei fruit ripens on the tree during summer, with a very small ripeness window of only a few weeks. The tree is an evergreen, with pale silvery bark and slender green leaves. It is often planted in areas with poor soil because it is a nitrogen fixer and will replenish the soil it is grown in. For this reason, it makes an excellent crop for fields that need long term nitrogen restoration, because it will produce profitable fruit while renewing the soil.


The Durian or Durio grows and in Asia and is native to Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. its is well know as the king of all fruits and can becomes up to 30 centimetres long with an average mass of 1-2 kilograms. It releases a oder that has been described as rotting fleash. The smell has been described as a combination of turpentine, gym socks and rotten onions. Some people have said it tasted like a rich custard highly flavored with almonds. The durian plant only blooms at night which gives bats a chance to collect the pollen and carry it to another Durian plant.


Salak (Salacca zalacca) is a species of palm tree. It is native ton Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia.It is a very short-stemmed palm, with leaves up to 6 metres long, each leaf has a 2-metre long petoile with spines up to 15 centimetres long, and numerous leaflets. It take about four years until its first crop.

flowers develop from June. Hand pollinate from male varieties onto bisexual varieties. (see note). Fruit take 6 months to mature. Pick bunch when the individual fruit are easily picked. Must not show green colour under the skin. It most remain High temperature and humidity required throughout the year. Frost tender and sun sensitive when young. High and continuous water requirement. It is generally eaten fresh but can be pickled or hot packed into syrup. Apple texture and pineapple sweetness gives
good possibilities in pies etc.

Jack Fruit

The Jack fruit or Artocarpus heterophyllus is the largest tree-borne fruit, strangely related to mulberries, and is native to Southern and South-Eastern Asia. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh, but is also cultivated in South America, throughout the Caribbean, and can even be found in East African countries, such as Uganda and Mauritius. A single fruit can weigh as much as 36 kg and can reach up to 50cm in diameter. The taste of the Jack fruit is very starchy and it is a good source of dietary fibre. There are a few different varieties of jack fruit, and they range from the larger, harder fruit, which tastes similar to unripe bananas, to the smaller varieties, which are much softer inside and have a much sweeter taste. Most jackfruit is grown in tropical or close to tropical climates.

Hala Fruit

The Hala Fruit or Pandanus tectorius is a species of Pandanus (screwpine) that is native toMalesia, eastern Australia, and thePacific Islands. Common names include Thatch Screwpine.

The fruit can be eaten raw and cooked and is a major source of food in Miroesia. The fibrous nature of the fruit also serves as a natural Dental Floss. The tree's leaves are often used as flavoring for sweet dishes such as kaya jam, and are also said to have medicinal properties. It is also used in Sri Lankan cookery, where the leaves are used to flavor a variety of curries. Leaves were used by the Polynesians to make baskets, mats or Outrigger. Pandanus tectorius naturally grows in coastal regions, such as on mangrove margins and beaches, at elevations from sea level to 610 m.It requires 1,500–4,000 mm of annual rainfall.