I have this tree in the garden close to the restaurant and so many people ask me what kind of fruit it is.
but really it not an edible fruit but it is what the Maya used to make their drinking and eating vessels from before plastic came along. I know it as Lec but to be honest I am not sure that is the real name.
The ‘fruit’ is quite heavy and sometimes I wonder how the tree holds them up. Once they drop to the ground they hit with a thud so I always tell people not to stand directly under one of the ‘fruits’ as they may just knock you out!
The shell is very hard and quite impossible to cut with a knife . The process is to cut down the ‘fruit’ then to boil until it becomes soft then it can be cut to how one would like it.The insides are scrapped out and the shells are put into the sun to dry and harden. Be warned… the insides really do ‘stink’ even when rotting on the tree or rotting on the ground we have to make sure they are discarded because of the smell.
Some local artesanias are actually using their artistic skills to produce some very lovely keepsakes . The one below was made by Pedro who owns El Mirador… a look out on the way from Uxmal to Muna.If you are in the area you should pop in and see what he has… not only that ,the view from his place is amazing. If you tell him you know Valerie at The Pickled Onion he may just give you a discount on some items.
The sad thing is most are chopping the tree down because with plastic containers and plates etc it no longer serves a purpose. I have the feeling that if it is not preserved it will soon go extinct.
When the land was first being cleaned ready to start the building on the restaurant/kitchen the workers told me it needed to be cut down. I soon halted that one with a no! we must preserve it.It has grown a lot in the last 7 years and produces lots of “fruit”.
Eric, one my employees, found some seedlings close to the tree and mentioned he had never seen seedlings grow before. He always thought that one had to take a branch of the tree and transplant. Now we have about 8 baby trees growing and my intention is to plant them around the place… but if you are interested in having one please let me know . I would hate to see this species go extinct!