Whaddyadoallday? Real Life on a Desert Island Rotating Header Image

Offspring

This week there’s been lots of attention given to the fruits of reproductive endeavors. But wow. Who would have thought that Kate and William would name their new prince after ME? I don’t even really know them all that well. But I’m humbled and honored just the same.

Meanwhile, speaking of progeny, I think that it is now safe to report that we have successful pollination and fruit set. Notice the plump, pregnant appearance of the wilting dragonfruit flower on the right in the photo below compared to the sad, dried, barren dragonfruit flower on the left. 

Initially I was hopeful that two out of the five flowers had set. Not great success statistics, but infinitely better than that zero success rate I’ve managed up until this point. Sadly, though, it appears that we have lost another one. It was probably just nature’s way of selecting against an inferior genetic specimen, but I’m disappointed nonetheless. It also appears that I am not just getting better at making baby dragonfruit but rather that the process really is dependent upon using pollen from a genetically different plant since the one fruit came from the very first flower that I pollinated with the fresh pollen from our friend’s plant while the other failures received a mixture of their own pollen and older, stored, foreign pollen.

I suppose I should count my blessing, however. In reality, we were really quite lucky to find a genetically dissimilar plant on our first try considering that we’re living on the dragonfruit equivalent of Pitcairn Island. First of all, I don’t think there are all that many dragonfruit plants here to start with. They aren’t exactly attractive landscape plants battling the Royal or Bismarck Palms for places of honor in people’s yards. In fact, I’ve never actually seen another one. Michael found ours growing wild and neglected along the fence in the far reaches of the garden center.  Plus for all we knew, every single dragonfruit plant living on this tiny little island could very well have descended from one single plant considering that the quickest and easiest way to propagate new dragonfruits is by rooting simple cuttings from another dragonfruit. That means that it was entirely possible and actually likely that our friend’s dragonfruit started out as a rooted stick broken off from our dragonfruit or visa versa.

So today I am in possession of a cutting from the friend’s plant that produced the pollen that led to successful fruit set; and in a peculiar twist, much like having a second child in the hopes that it will be a genetic match for my ailing firstborn, I now have had to adopt a second, unruly, gangly cactus in order to successfully bear fruit on either of them. Clearly it will take time for the cutting to mature and produce flowers so that my dream of an abundant dragonfruit harvest will be slower to reach fruition. For now, though, the biggest question is which palm tree is going to have to step aside and make space for the new kid.

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