Curtiss was driving. He’d already stopped the van just a few minutes previously so we could pick some of the abundant papery pods from some Albizia lebbeck trees I’d spotted. They’re nitrogen fixers and I always need more of those.
After turning around from that stop and heading north through Fruitland Park, I saw something I couldn’t believe. Curtiss must’ve seen my head swivel.
“Alright… what did you see?”
“I could’ve sworn that was an Enterolobium tree over there!”
“Okay… I’ll turn around.”
Curtiss did and we parked and hiked back alongside the highway to the tree. On the way I stopped for a minute and gathered some bunches of rosary peas for my seed collection, but we got to the mystery tree in just a couple of minutes… and it was incredible.
There, standing by the highway and still bearing many pods from last year’s fruiting season, was the largest Enterolobium tree I’ve ever seen… and it was definitely outside its regular range.
For those of you not familiar with the Enterolobiums, they’re also known as “ear-pod trees” or “guanacaste” trees in their native South American range. They’re beautiful and spreading, plus they fix abundant amounts of nitrogen – a perfect addition to any food forest.
This particular tree is an Enterolbium contortislliquum (thank you, Green Deane for helping sort out the species).
Here’s a shot of me holding a few of the pods we snagged:
It’s not every day you see such an awesome tree. I’ll bet it was at least 60′ tall and perhaps 100′ wide. It felt like we were standing in the Amazon being beneath that monster’s branches.
I’m definitely starting the seeds. And I’m very glad Curtiss turned the van around or else I would’ve missed a heck of a cool tree.