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Re: [aroid-l] amorphophallus and mockingbirds

  • Subject: Re: [aroid-l] amorphophallus and mockingbirds
  • From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo@msn.com
  • Date: Sun, 20 Jul 2003 11:31:25 -0400
  • Seal-send-time: Sun, 20 Jul 2003 11:31:32 -0400

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Petra Schmidt 
  To: aroid-l@lists.ncsu.edu 
  Sent: Saturday, July 19, 2003 9:13 AM
  Subject: [aroid-l] amorphophallus and mockingbirds

  Dear Petra,

  Nice observation!    I am not surprised that a bird would pick off, eat and transport Amorphophallus fruit/seed in that manner, the color of the ripening fruit is an obvious attractant to several fruit-eating birds.   I had thought that the mocking bird was mainly an insect eater, but then got to thinking that in Trinidad the big crested fly-catcher, though mainly an insect-eater, avidly eats the HOT little chilis, and will even catch gold-fish from outside fountains, swooping down like a kingfisher.
  I had reported that I had tasted the large, red/orange juicy ripe fruit of Taccarum ( I do NOT recommend that anyone try this!), and had found them pleasant tasting and very sweet, so even if a plant is not native to an area, the native fauna will take advantage of a 'new' food source.   
  This has resulted in several introduced trees and plants becoming 'pest species' here in S. Florida.   The migrating American 'robins' ( a thrush species) eagerly eat the red berries of the introduced Brazilian 'pepper' trees and thus spread the seeds far and wide, even though some chemical in the ripe fruit seems to 'intoxicate' these birds, they sit on lawns looking 'drunk' after feeding on the berries..    The local crows LOVE the ripe fruit of the Australian Scheffelaria trees, huge flocks seek out trees w/ ripe fruit, these fruit turn from red to black when ripe, and this plant is now declared an invasive pest species, (as is the S. American strawberry guava) as they are turning up in natural 'native' areas, as is the African carrotwood, another tree that bears attractive (and tasty?) red fruit.
  May we soon have Amorphophallus sps. as part of our local flora!

  Good Growing,


  >>I have to tell you that I just watched a mockingbird pick off an orange, not
  quite ripe, amorph. konjac berry and fly off...the infructescence has lots
  of berries missing, a few lying on the ground below the plants there, but
  now I'm wondering if this bird has been coming by and sampling these
  berries?  Anyone else witness birds eating amorph berries?

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