Weekly Photo Challenge 2: The Heavenly Chocolate Chip Tree


The Silk Floss Tree, or species of Ceiba is the majestic giant of the rainforest. It has long been considered sacred for the indigenous people of Nicaragua. One of their myths is that the souls of the dead would climb into the branches of the Ceiba to reach heaven.  Large spines protrude from the trunk to protect the bark and discourage predators.  I call it the chocolate chip tree because its unique spikes resemble chocolate chips.

the chocolate chip tree copyLike the Pickle Tree, the Chocolate Chip Tree has many uses.
Uses for the wood:
The straight trunks of the tree are used to make dugout canoes. The wood is pinkish white to ashy brown in color, with a straight grain.

Uses for the seeds and fiber:
The brown seeds are round like peas and grow in pods. The pods burst open and inside a whitish cotton like fiber surrounds the brown seeds. The fiber is extremely light, buoyant, and water resistant. It is used to stuff pillows and life jackets. I have some fiber sitting in a bowl on my porch and the hummingbirds gather it for their nests.The fiber has also been used to wrap around poison darts to be blown out of blowguns.

Medicinal Uses:
The seeds , leaves, bark, and resin are used medicinally to treat dysentery, fever, asthma, and kidney disease.

Thanks to my son, Cory, for the stunning photo.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Pickle Tree


One day, when we were preparing chicken to grill, our neighbor pointed out the Mimbro tree at the side of our house. It is a very unique and strange tree with little pickle shaped pods that seem to grow right out of the trunk of the tree.

MimbroTo my surprise, the Mimbro fruit has a variety of uses in addition to making a fine marinate for chicken.

Marinate for chicken:
Wash and slice 4-6 Mimbro fruits and add them to the squeezed juice of 3-4 sour oranges. Pour over raw chicken and marinate several hours or overnight. If grilling, baste the chicken in the marinate. If baking, pour the marinade over the chicken and bake as directed.

Cleaning a machete:
The Mimbro is very acidic and the juice can be used to clean the blade of a machete or a dagger.

Bleaching stains:
Because of the high oxalic content in the Mimbro juice, it can be used to bleach stains from hands and remove rust from white cloth.

Brass cleaner:
The juice removes tarnish from brass, too.

Medicinal uses:
The fruit conserve is administered as a treatment for coughs. When boiled into a syrup, the syrup is taken as a cure for fever and inflammation. Amazingly, the syrup alleviates internal hemorrhoids, too.

Who would have thought that the unique “pickle tree” would have so many uses!