Banquet Piece, Pieter Claez

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Flying Dragon

Looking very Smaug-like
Visitors at Shinn Park often ask about one particular plant - the flying dragon hedge (Poncirus trifoliata). The hedge that surrounds the Japanese garden is quite eyecatching. "What IS it?" they ask. "Can I eat the fruit?"

Poncirus trifoliata (aka trifoliate orange) is from Northern China and Korea. The original plan by Mai Arbegast specified a "solid hedge of plant such as Poncirus trifoliata to enclose garden...." to discourage dogs and trespassing. This unusual pointy feature of the garden really does encourage the use of the three gates into the garden. You only get stuck in it, or by it, once and then you avoid it.

The flying dragon fruit can apparently be eaten (or it might be poisonous according to one source), but the recipes given make it sound fairly unpalatable. My favorite recipe for a flying dragon citrus drink is "One fruit, five barrels of sugar, and five barrels of water".  A "barrel" is a somewhat loose measurement and can be somewhere between 26 and 53 gallons. But you get the idea. Needs dilution.

A good review of its uses are here. (Always double check your sources when trying something new!)