Saturday, August 11, 2007

Vanilla bean (orchid)

The vanilla orchid isn't known for its high production of fruit, unless manually pollinated. Thus, I was surprised to find this overly ripe vanilla bean on the ground under the first one I planted several years ago. I placed the cutting next to a hogs plumb tree (Spondias), which wasn't the best choice on my part. The tree is quite large and the branches quite high, making for difficult climbing conditions for the orchid. It goes up and up and at some point, maybe 20 meters high, it falls back. Then it starts climbing again. If it can ever get to the first branch, it'll have something to hang onto. I've never seen a bloom on the orchid and this is the first fruit I've seen from it. In the attached image, you can see another vanilla plant, which is climbing around the rafters of the back porch. I'm holding the bean next to one of the leafs.

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