We were driving home from church on Sunday when I spotted some white flowers on a tree a little ways down a hill from the roadside. At first, I thought they may have been pawpaws hiding in the brush, so I did a U-turn and parked the van, then hiked across the road and down the hillside.
As I got a little closer, I realized the leaf and trunk shapes were all wrong for pawpaw.
Instead, I had discovered an old friend.
Tung oil trees!
Back in my North Florida food forest, in the halcyon year of 2012, I planted a tung tree to memorialize my Grandpa Jud, who was a talented woodworker. He used tung oil to finish some of his projects. When I found a tree for sale at a nursery and discovered the species also bore beautiful flowers, I bought it and put it in the food forest.
Here’s the farewell tour:
I greatly miss that old food forest sometimes. It was a beautiful project.
But back to the tung trees.
Here’s a close-up of the blooms:
And the foliage:
And a single bloom.
They’re just leafing out at this time of year, and the leaf color is a weird lime-green.
I’m going to see if I can find a few trees for my food forest here. Not because they’re particularly useful or edible – they aren’t edible! – but because they remind me of Florida and my past food forest project, as well as Grandpa.
I don’t want to move ever again.