Our jasmine vine produced a fruit. We didn’t know they could do that.
Heck, we didn’t even know what kind of jasmine we have. It can be a little confusing, because are several vines called jasmine: Jasminum (Jasmine), Trachelospermum (Star Jasmine), and Stephanotis (Madagascar Jasmine or Bridal Veil). There is a Gardenia called Cape Jasmine, and I’m sure there are still other flowers sharing the name.
Our plant is Stephanotis, which produces clusters of sweet-scented white blossoms. It attracts hummingbirds, who feed from the flowers and perch on the vines to keep watch over their territory. And, we have learned, it occasionally produces a large inedible mango-shaped fruit.
Our vines have been very healthy – they must like the climate here in the bay area. We don’t have to pay much attention to them. One day, we walked up to the house and noticed that there was a big green fruit on the vine. It was the same color and shape as the leaves, so maybe we can be excused for not seeing it until it was the size of an avocado.
We pulled out the ever handy Western Garden Book, and flipped to vines, where we figured out what plant we have. Unfortunately, there was just a brief paragraph on care and feeding, but no information on fruit. It didn’t even tell us that Stephanotis is usually propagated by cuttings.
This information from the Royal Horticultural Society helped clarify things. Other people have had this experience, too! Apparently the vines can produce fruit once every few years. This discussion from the University of British Columbia’s Botanical Centre gave some additional advice, saying that it is helpful to harvest the seeds before they go dormant if you want to try to grow them.
Since the vines tend not to flower while there is a fruit on the vine, and we like that the flowers draw the hummingbirds, we decided to pick the fruit and dissect it.
It is completely interesting inside. There is a thick fleshy outer layer. Inside that, the seeds are layered over a central core and each seed has a tuft of fuzz attached. The central part came out cleanly once the fleshy part was split open.
The layered seeds look like scales. And in the fuzz department, these babies put dandelions to shame! If we had let it mature on the vine, the fruit would have opened up and the seeds would have blown away.