In our neighbors yard is a large, well a huge ciricote (ziricote) tree. I love this tree, one of the reasons is because it is not in my yard and because it set slightly away I get to enjoy all its mysteries.
This tree is home and roost to LOTS of birds and iguanas. It has a huge canopy and at various times during the year is covered in beautiful bright orange flowers. Hummingbirds and Orioles love this tree for its flowers.
The leaves are tough, leathery, with a slightly raspy surface, which would have all sorts of practical purposes should I need something sanded, or cleaned. The tree sheds a bit, not much, so is green and lush year round.
This tree also produces a golfball+ size fruit. This fruit is a favorite treat of the iguanas and the bats.
Sometimes it is cultivated for its fruit, which can be eaten raw or made into a conserve. In fact I have been known to pick up a ziricote, brush the dirt off and take a few bites. I am not overly impressed, they aren’t terribly flavorful, and when made into a conserve are mostly just sweet. To each his/her own!
Interestingly, In the past, the bark and wood were used to make a cough syrup.
In addition, the wood of the ziricote is a gorgeous dark brown and black veined wood, which is also hard, heavy, and strong. Ziricote wood is typically used for fine furniture, cabinetry, doors, paneling, flooring and face veneer on plywood.
We are experiencing a rather new interest and love of this tree. Bats! Yes, Bats. We have bats, lots of bats, both fruit bats and insectivore bats. The fruit bats have recently been consuming vast quantities of ziricote fruit and using the royal palms in the garden as their roosts while eating.
As part of nightly routine is ‘Last Call’, which is the signal for the dogs it is time for one last turn around the garden and potty break before bed. Now we also take the flashlights and bat gaze. We have seen as many as 8 bats hanging from the undersides of the long pinnate palm fronds, and even more moving about above the palms.
I love living here!
I found a great bat house idea, with instruction. Hmmmm, doesn’t Tom need a project???