A tree of Japanese raisin
Hovenia acerba, Hovenia dulcis var. glabra, Hovenia dulcis var.
latifolia, Hovenia inequalis.
Chinese raisin, mata-fome, tripa-de-galinha.
is native to subtropical Asia. It grows in the Asian region starting
from Japan to the Eastern Indian Himalayas upto an altitude of 200 m.
It has been introduced in many countries of the world is grown mostly as
an ornamental tree.
of Japanese raisin
Japanese raisin is a large tree growing upto 20 m high.
Though it can grow everywhere, but still performs best at sunny
locations. The tree has large glossy green leaves. The flowers are
small, creamy white, mildly fragrant and are clustered together.
Fruit is a reddish-brown drupe, about 1/3" in diameter about
the size of a raisin, hence the name. These appear at the end of the
fleshy stalk. The fruits are sweet, and can be eaten.
Japanese raisin foliage
The real edible portion which is a pseudofruit, comprises
of fleshy fruit stalks. The stalks, when dry, have the taste, flavour
and texture of raisins. The fleshy stalks are used as raisins. The
stalks fall off after attaining ripening and are collected from the
ground. They may be small in size but are usually in copious amounts.
These can be eaten both raw as well as cooked. The other beauty of
these fruits (stalks) is that you don't need to dry them.