The tours of UBC Botanical Garden led by Egan Davis on 5th and 26th October and were more of his customary enthusiastic, educational and entertaining presentations. His introduction to "Dead Man's Fingers" (see photos by Martha Warren and from Wikipedia) sent me to Wikipedia to learn more about this frightening plant, especially after Egan had encouraged us to sample the melon-flavoured gelatinous pulp of the pods, requiring dexterous separation from a multitude of black seeds (I wondered if poisoning was in store!). The plant, an ornamental decidous shrub or small tree, is a native of eastern Asia known as Decaisnea fargesii. The drooping panicle flowers have no petals and develop into blue-black follicles up to 10 cm long, apparently valued by the people of Sikkim. All members of our party survived the unusual culinary experience. The tour on the 26th in a different part of the the Garden garnered members other clubs, including Squamish, Capilano, and Lynn Valley. The picture on the left shows Dead Man's Fingers, and on the right is an intriguing but rather tortured vine struggling on a very forgiving cedar tree (taken by Charity Reddington on a different occasion).
Louis K. Peterson