Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cape Grape

The Grape Ape would probably eat the Cape Grape. 
A local gardener left me a plant sample that was new to me. It looked kind of like a grape, but it wasn't familiar. I Google'd grape and then Cissus, and with each added a few leaf shape terms that were descriptive of the sample's leaves, and was lucky enough to get a hit: Rhoicissus tomentosa (aka Rhoicissus capensis). A native of the cape area of South Africa, It's fruits are edible but its roots are said to be poisonous.

Cape grape (Rhoicissus tomentosa) sample brought in by a local gardener. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Puppy Pits

I received a phone call from a gentleman who had been walking his puppy outdoors when the puppy ingested some type of plant material. The dog then regurgitated a fibrous pod (or pit). The caller asked what he should do and if I knew what the plant material could be (see illustrations below). The first thing I did was urge him to go to a veterinarian. About a half hour later he called me from the vets and said that he sent some pictures of the regurgitated object for me to inspect. I took a look at the pods and did several Google image searches using terms related to the incident. Using the term "Dog vomit fibrous fruit" I came upon a blog page where the blogger was writing about his puppy eating a similar fruit. Doing some more research and talking again to the owner it appears that dogs like Queen palm fruit and indeed the gentleman who called had passed by an area where these fruit were on the ground and he did recall his puppy eating the fruit. Puzzle solved, dog not in danger, and now I know that Queen palms (Arecastrum romanzoffianum) are not only not harmful to dogs (unless the dog eats too many and get an intestinal blockage from the fiber) they are edible and quite good. Although there are no terribly toxic palms there are some bad actors (as this article in the 'Dave's Garden' gardening bulletin board points out) and some terribly toxic palm look-alikes such as sago palms. 

Fibrous fruit of Aracastrum romanzoffianum after it's been through a puppy's digestive track.