St. John Flora: Genip

genip

The tree
The genip (Meliococcus bijugatus) is characterized by its smooth bark with a mottled grey green pattern that is caused by lichen. It can grow up to 100 feet high, but most trees on St. John only reach about 60 feet.

Invasive Species
Genips are native to South America and were most likely brought to St. John by Amerindians for their fruit. On St. John, they are considered an invasive species because they are so prolific and so adaptive to the local environment that they can crowd out other vegetation. For example, they are extremely drought resistant. In times of drought, when most trees have lost their leaves, the only bright green trees left will invariably be genips. Also, because the fruit is so popular, not only with humans, but also with other animals, the seeds are spread all about the forests and beyond.

Notwithstanding their classification as invasive, one hardly hears an outcry for their elimination, which I believe is the result of the popularity of the fruit, and for the most part, the dark side of the genip tree has been ignored.

The fruit
In the summer the tree bears a green fruit that grows in bunches. The taste and texture is somewhat similar to its cousin the lychee.

How to eat
The genip fruit has a thin, ridged skin that you crack with your teeth and remove. You can then suck the tasty tart, tangy, yellow pulp that surrounds the large seed within. If you care abouth what you’re wearing, be careful not to get the juice on your clothing as it will leave a permanent brownish stain. Genip seeds can be roasted and eaten like chestnuts.

The name
Locally known as genips or canips, the tree and fruit are also called mamoncillo, mamón (be careful here, the word, mamón , is considered obscene in some Spanish-speaking countries), chenet, gnep, ginep, guinep, kinnip, quenepa, Spanish lime and limoncillo.

Folklore
The smoke from burning genip leaves is said to drive away mosquitoes and sand fleas.

It is said that girls learn the art of kissing by eating this sweet, but tart fruit. Try one and you’ll understand.

St. John Weather

Brrr, it’s cold!

The temperature is forecast to drop down to a bone-chilling 68 degree F this afternoon. With wind gusts as high as 25 mph, I wonder if we have a windchill factor happening?

Forecast for St. John US Virgin Islands today:
Scattered showers, mainly before noon. Mostly sunny, with a temperature falling to around 68 by 1pm. East wind around 18 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

St. John and Virgin Islands News

The banned pesticide linked to poisoning at Sirenusa has been widely used in the Virgin Islands.
Read Virgin Islands Daily News Article

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) has completed repairs to the two generators that went down over the weekend and caused island-wide power outages.

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