kruizing with kikukat

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mystery Fruit: Smooth, Orange, Tree-growing

mystery fruit from Ninole
I am looking for help.  I took these pics of what appears to be a fruit, but I have no idea what it is.  In fact, I'm using the term "fruit" very loosely, as I don't even know if it is edible.  This fruit was growing on a tree in Ninole, Hawaii (Big Island).

The tree, about eight to ten feet tall, appears citrus-like.

each fruit showing the single crease line
size comparison with a nickel
The fruits are about the size of a racketball, so bigger than a golf ball, but not quite as large as a tennis ball.  They have smooth skin (no dimples and no fur).  The skin feels similar to a lilikoi (passion fruit), but its more orange than the typical lilikoi.  There is a single crease line which runs the length of the fruit on the underside.  While this picture shows a group of three fruits growing in a clunch (I think I made up that word. . . thanks, Deira), not all of the fruits were in a triad. 

fruit is actually more yellow-orange color than brown
I decided to take a chance and cut one of the fruits open along the crease line.  I was shocked to see a very lilikoi-like pulp.  There were black seeds encased in white pouches, about the size of the little seed packs in lilikoi.  These were surrounded with what looked like white pith (like citrus). 

fruit just after it was cut open
 Oddly enough, as soon as I cut the fruit open, a thick white sap began oozing from the cut surfaces.  The sap was like a thick glue.  Even stickier than Elmer's Glue!  It took forever and a lot of elbow grease to get the sap off the paring knife I used.

My questions:
  • What is this fruit called?
  • Is it edible?
  • If its edible, how do you eat it?

I'd be grateful for any realistic answers.  When I posed this question on facebook, I got all kinds of crazy answers ranging from "Smurf berries" to "permissions" (yes, this is what the person wrote).