Golden Currant

| January 28, 2014
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Golden Currant

Golden Currant Flowers

Golden Currant Bloom

Golden Currant Green Growth

Golden Currant Breaking Dormancy

The Golden Currant, Ribes Aureum Gracillimum, is one of two varieties of golden currant, Ribes Aureum Aureum and Ribes Aureum Gracillimum.

Ribes A. Aureum is a cold hardy, variety of the Ribes A. It requires cold winter climates, lots of winter chill hours to thrive, and does not tolerate heat well.

Ribes A. Gracillimum on the other hand, is less hardy to extreme cold, can tolerate temperatures below freezing but not to the extreme of A. Aureum. It also tolerates heat, and drought, exceptionally well. Ribes A. Gracillimum is a native Southern California drought tolerant plant, and grows well in Southern California chaparral, under oaks, and in southern oak woodlands.

The Ribes A. Gracillimum is an attractive plant, produces and abundance of early spring flowers, yellow in color, aesthetically pleasing and attractive to hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.

The fruits range in size up to about 1cm, and during maturation change from yellow, to orange, to red in color. The fruit of the Ribes A. Gracillimum is quite palatable. Fruit has been used by Native Americans a variety of ways, fresh, dried, etc. We enjoy this fruit fresh in the Gardenisto garden.

The golden currant can also be grown well in containers that drain well, and pair nicely in the garden with the Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea), another attractive native to southern and central California.

Dragon Fruit

| January 27, 2014
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Dragon Fruit LimbsDragon Fruit Trellis
Dragon fruit, or Pitahaya, is the common reference to any of three Hylocereus varieties.

  • Hylocereus undatus: Red-skinned fruit with white flesh.
  • Hylocereus costaricensis: Red-skinned fruit with red flesh.
  • Hylocereus megalanthus

Dragon Fruit is an easy to grow plant in the Cactaceae family. It requires humus rich soil with good drainage to do well, but is fairly tolerant to less than perfect soil. Our Dragon Fruit grows well in zone 9 with very little care. Occasional removal of unwanted limbs may be necessary to trellis or help shape the plant into something manageable.

Propagation is most easily done via cuttings from a parent plant. Its best to allow the cutting to callus and form differentiated cells. Those cells then dedifferentiate into cells specific to roots and rooting. A cutting should also be buried in a medium past at least one row of nodes to promote better root growth. The nodes on a Dragon Fruit can be identified by tiny spines in a lip, on the edge of the plant limb.

The Dragon Fruit is well known for its interesting fruits, but also produces nocturnal flowers up to 30cm.

Dragon Fruit grows most productively on plant limbs that are two or more years old. New growth won’t produce fruit, and very old growth will not produce as prolifically. Commercial farming practices involve trellising or allowing main stalks to grow to a certain height on a post, before they are trained to branch. The branching droops, allowing for easy maintenance, and high yields due to sun exposure.


| January 27, 2014
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
The Averrhoa Carambola, more commonly called the Starfruit for the shape made by a cross-sectional cut in the fruit, is a tropical species of tree native to the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Star Fruit Carambola


The 2 to 6 inch fruits, with 4 to 8 ribs, have a distinct flavor resembling green apple, pears, and grape, with a tart component. The tart component is the result of concentrations of oxalic acid, which is considered harmful to persons with kidney issues. Persons with kidney issues may also, be unable to filter out a neurotoxin found in Carambola Averrhoa

The fruit of the Carambola tree, is also rich in antioxidants, Potassium, Vitamin C, and even exhibits antimicrobial activity. A typical Carambola tree can produce within 4 to 5 years, and has interesting and ornamental leaves.

A variety of named cultivars exist. Propagation from seed is possible, and germination rates vary depending on the freshness of seed, and variety. Some cultivated varieties of Carambola do not have seeds.

The Star Fruit is also an attractive Nyctinastic plant. Meaning it will close up leaves, when it is dark, or disturbed.