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  #1  
Old 01-25-2005, 06:46 PM
Reeder Reeder is offline
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There are only 3 indigenous fruits in America?

Just heard on Unwrapped..

There are only 3 indigenous fruits in America.

Cranberries, blueberries and concord grapes.

Surely this isn't true.

Is it?
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  #2  
Old 01-25-2005, 06:52 PM
Terminus Est Terminus Est is offline
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Depends on your definition of a "fruit" and of "America". Offhand, I can name tomatoes and chiles as fruit native to the Americas.
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  #3  
Old 01-25-2005, 06:58 PM
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From Wikipedia:
Quote:
In botany, a fruit is the ripened ovary, together with its seeds, of a flowering plant. In cuisine, when discussing fruit as food, the term usually refers to just those plant fruits that are sweet and fleshy, examples of which would be plum, apple, and orange. However, a great many common vegetables, as well as nuts and grains, are the fruit of the plants they come from. Fruits that might not be considered such in a culinary context include gourds (e.g. squash and pumpkin), maize, tomatoes, and green peppers.
If you choose the loser botanical definition of a fruit, most of the examples listed above including corn, tomatoes, green peppers, and squash/pumpkins all originated on the American continent.
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  #4  
Old 01-25-2005, 07:06 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Assuming 'America' means the fifty states, you can still have strawberries, raspberries, pawpaws, ...
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  #5  
Old 01-25-2005, 07:06 PM
manhattan manhattan is offline
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Damn fine question. According to these guys the first European settlers found strawberries when they landed. A kid's page at the USDA concurs, but implies that the strawberries from then were different from today's American strawberries.
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  #6  
Old 01-25-2005, 07:08 PM
Neurotik Neurotik is offline
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Not to mention mangoes, papayas, avocados, varieties of squashes, etc.
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  #7  
Old 01-25-2005, 07:09 PM
manhattan manhattan is offline
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Goddamn is this a good question! Apparently, the grapefruit is a new fruit and originated in Jamaica. I think that would make it the only non-Asian citrus, no?
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  #8  
Old 01-25-2005, 07:11 PM
The Devil's Grandmother The Devil's Grandmother is offline
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I belive cranberries and blueberries are also a native No. American species, although they have European counterparts. I think the botanical definition would also cover vanilla.
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  #9  
Old 01-25-2005, 07:16 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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My copy of The New Century Book of Facts lists avocado, cashew, cassava, america grape, cranberry, guava, papaw, prickly pear, pumpkin, black raspberry, american and chilean strawberry, and the tomato as being of new world origin. They missed the blueberry, and there are a number of other entries which are somewhat less fruitlike.
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  #10  
Old 01-25-2005, 07:19 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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Concord grapes, as I understand it, are a strain developed as a hybrid (in Concord), not a native fruit. They were the first grapes to grow well in the harsh American environment.
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  #11  
Old 01-25-2005, 07:31 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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paw paw
cranberry
blueberry
raspberry
concord grape
prickly pear fruit (actually, those are pretty good...)
strawberry (N. America had indigenous variety pre-Europe contact)
sumac
(possibly other berries as well - there are a LOT of them)

A more botanical definition, and encompassing all of North American, would include:
tomotoes
chilies
squash such as pumpkins
avocadoes
grapefruit (although apparently there is some question...)
guava
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  #12  
Old 01-25-2005, 07:39 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurotik
Not to mention mangoes, papayas, avocados, varieties of squashes, etc.

Mangoes are an Asian species.
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  #13  
Old 01-25-2005, 08:18 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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The Cherimoya or custard apple, is native to Colombia and Bolivia. It's darn tasty too!
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  #14  
Old 01-25-2005, 08:35 PM
dtilque dtilque is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick
(possibly other berries as well - there are a LOT of them)
Two more:

salal
Oregon grape

These are not usually domesticated for their fruit, but the plants are sold as ornamentals. Both are native to the Pacific Northwest and were a significant part of the diet of the Indians in that area.
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  #15  
Old 01-25-2005, 08:39 PM
Bill Door Bill Door is offline
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Elderberries aren't native? I'm shocked. As a youth I picked wild elderberries in areas so remote no rational person would ever have planted them. I suppose they could have sprouted from seeds in bird droppings, or that elderberries aren't a fruit, but I would bet elderberries are native, and this site agrees.
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  #16  
Old 01-25-2005, 08:55 PM
kdeus kdeus is offline
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Liberace?

/ducks
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  #17  
Old 01-25-2005, 11:19 PM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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Persimmons?
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  #18  
Old 01-25-2005, 11:39 PM
Doobieous Doobieous is offline
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If we extend "America" to mean North America:


Native fruits I can think of off the top of my head:

Blueberries
Blackberries
Oregon Grape (Mahonia)
Islay Cherry
Wild grapes
Elderberry
Golden Currant
Strawberries (there's a species native to California's beaches)
PawPaw
Lemonade berry
White Sapote
Cherimoya
Persimmons
Custard Apple
Sugar Apple
Black Sapote
Salmonberry
Thimbleberry
Salal
Tropical Guava
Acerola
Capulin Cherry
Muscadine Grape
Red Huckleberry
Indian Plum
Prickly pear fruits
Serviceberry
Madrone (bland, but edible... sometimes a bit sweet)
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  #19  
Old 01-25-2005, 11:47 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Are huckleberries just considered another variety of blueberry?

And by "indiginous", do we just mean "naturally found in America", or "not naturally found anywhere else"?
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  #20  
Old 01-26-2005, 12:54 AM
Mesquite-oh Mesquite-oh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doobieous


Native fruits I can think of off the top of my head:

Blueberries
Blackberries
Oregon Grape (Mahonia)
Islay Cherry
Wild grapes
Elderberry
Golden Currant
Strawberries (there's a species native to California's beaches)
PawPaw
Lemonade berry
White Sapote
Cherimoya
Persimmons
Custard Apple
Sugar Apple
Black Sapote
Salmonberry
Thimbleberry
Salal
Tropical Guava
Acerola
Capulin Cherry
Muscadine Grape
Red Huckleberry
Indian Plum
Prickly pear fruits
Serviceberry
Madrone (bland, but edible... sometimes a bit sweet)

Off the top of your head? Dang, what if you had a while to think about it?
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  #21  
Old 01-26-2005, 02:19 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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The Mesquite has "beans" which are edible. Not "tasty", but still edible. Maybe not a 'fruit" in the classic sense.

There are a few other cactus fruits which are edible- beavertail (Opuntia basilaris) & Indian-fig (O. Fiscus-indica).

There is also the Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) aka Christmas-berry, or California Holly.

The Manzanita also has edible fruit- usually used to make jellies or a drink. Same with the Barberry (Berberis sp.), the Lemonade berry (Rhus integrifolia), & the Sugar bush (Rhus ovata).

Juniper berries are edible. Better for flavouring, though.

The Firethorn bush has berries which are somewhat edible- but more often for preserves, not eating "as is". ( I think it's native, I know it's now widespread)

Those are just in California.

I am not sure if the Wild Rose is native. Nor the Hawthorn. I know the Tamarind grows wild in Central & South America- not sure if it is native, either.

So Unwrapped is completely wrong. However, if they said there were only 3 native fruits which are commercially successful, they might have a point. There are certainly less than a half-dozen anyway.
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  #22  
Old 01-26-2005, 02:32 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Pretty sure there are a number of species and allies of Ribes(gooseberries & currants) that originate in America.
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  #23  
Old 01-26-2005, 04:22 AM
Squee Squee is offline
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Quote:
Goddamn is this a good question! Apparently, the grapefruit is a new fruit and originated in Jamaica. I think that would make it the only non-Asian citrus, no?
Bumping this up since I would also love to hear an answer to this, if anyone has any information. Thanks for posting it manhattan!
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  #24  
Old 01-26-2005, 07:06 AM
altiod altiod is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squee
Bumping this up since I would also love to hear an answer to this, if anyone has any information. Thanks for posting it manhattan!
Afraid I can't give you an academic answer but you can't find grapefruits here in Thailand, we have pomellos which are similar but a bit blander but not bitter. It is also rare if not impossible to find lemons. (and they are really expensive if you do fing them, imported...) Limes are served with almost any dish though and for some reason everybody calls them lemons in English. There are about five varieties of oranges to pick from at nearly any produce section, but never navel oranges.
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  #25  
Old 01-26-2005, 07:19 AM
Squink Squink is offline
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Grapefruit history
Quote:
The grapefruit, not even 300 years old, is just a kid in the world of fruits. The offspring of the pummelo, sometimes spelled pomelo and even known as shaddock, the grapefruit may have appeared as a horticultural accident during the 1700s in Jamaica. The grapefruit might never have made a debut at all if it hadn't been for Captain Shaddock, a 17th century English ship commander who brought seeds of the pummelo from the East Indies and delivered them to the West Indies in 1693.
So the grapefruit is a New World Mutant rather than a New World Native.

Pummelo's are hard to find, but getting more common in the states. Sometimes you can get them as large as basketballs.
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  #26  
Old 01-26-2005, 07:27 AM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
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How about the watermelon? Isn't that native?
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  #27  
Old 01-26-2005, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3
How about the watermelon? Isn't that native?
Not according to the Wikipedia:
Quote:
Watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris; Family Cucurbitaceae) is the fruit and plant of a vine-like (climber and trailer) herb originally from southern Africa.
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  #28  
Old 01-26-2005, 07:52 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
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What's up with mulberries? Mulberry trees are pretty common here (and I've learned it's best not to park under one). But then there's that old (English?) nursery rhyme: "Here we go 'round the mulberry bush"—do European mulberries grow on bushes? If so, are they even the same thing as the mulberries I know, or are they different species with the same name (kinda like the European vs. the American robin)?
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  #29  
Old 01-26-2005, 07:59 AM
LifeOnWry LifeOnWry is offline
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Darn it, Thudlow, I was gonna be the first to suggest mulberries!

Um, what about Hawaiian fruits - pineapple and coconut?
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  #30  
Old 01-26-2005, 08:01 AM
LifeOnWry LifeOnWry is offline
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Doobieous - you've got cherimoya, paw-paw and custard apple listed as three separate fruits - aren't they all the same fruit?
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  #31  
Old 01-26-2005, 08:16 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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I've wondered about this for awhile, actually, especially with the fruits that I like to gather every summer--wild strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries, with the occasional surprise black raspberry patch thrown in for good measure. Are blackberries definitely native, then?

Daniel
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  #32  
Old 01-26-2005, 08:58 AM
Podkayne Podkayne is offline
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Not to make this into an ad hominem (ad showinem?) but Unwrapped doesn't do anything that really qualifies as "research." More than once they'd passed on "amazing facts" that were timeworn myths—though to be fair they have also debunked some common urban legends—and it seems that they will uncritically present anything that their food-industry subjects offer as fact, both in footage of the interviewees and in the voiceover by the host.

The most egregious example was their tour of the PentaWater factory. I guess it's not surprising that they did not challenge any of the health claims made by the company representative. It's obviously not that kind of a show, but I was annoyed all the same.

Unwrapped : Good Eats :: Larry King Live : Mythbusters.
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  #33  
Old 01-26-2005, 09:19 AM
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We have at least two species of native grapes: the muscatine (a dark grape) and the scuppernong (a white grape).
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  #34  
Old 01-26-2005, 09:29 AM
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Correction:

After further research, it looks like the muscatine/muscadine and the scuppernong are different varieties of one species of grape.
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  #35  
Old 01-26-2005, 09:47 AM
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Are we counting only edible fruit? Because several species of nightshade produce poisonous fruit. Jimsonweed, for example (which, interestingly, is a corruption of "Jamestown weed," the weed first having been observed by Europeans at the Jamestown colony).

And then we have poke berries (from the pokeweed) which are also poisonous (to humans anyway; birds eat them).
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  #36  
Old 01-26-2005, 10:45 AM
The Devil's Grandmother The Devil's Grandmother is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness
Are blackberries definitely native, then?
Yes, a quick google search says they are native to the whole damn planet. I know they are referred to as brambles in English renaissance cookbooks (Sir Kenelme Digbie's Closet Opened is the best example that comes to mind).
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  #37  
Old 01-26-2005, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink
What's up with mulberries?
For what it's worth, wikipedia says: "The fruit of the Black Mulberry, native to southwest Asia, and the Red Mulberry, native to eastern North America, have the best flavour." By the way, silkworms only eat mulberry leaves so they're pretty common in China and Japan.
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  #38  
Old 01-26-2005, 11:03 AM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Another fruit not yet mentioned: passionfruit.

Though the linked site describes them as being native to South America, I am familiar with at least one variety that grows wild here in Georgia.

We also have wild dewberries here. Related to, but distinct from the blackberry.

The wild strawberry and the huckleberry (previously mentioned) are native here as well.
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  #39  
Old 01-26-2005, 11:27 AM
Gaudere Gaudere is offline
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Mayapples
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  #40  
Old 01-26-2005, 12:28 PM
yBeayf yBeayf is offline
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Quote:
Doobieous - you've got cherimoya, paw-paw and custard apple listed as three separate fruits - aren't they all the same fruit?
Nope -- they're all separate fruits, albeit very closely related and similar in taste and texture.
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  #41  
Old 01-26-2005, 04:53 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeOnWry
Darn it, Thudlow, I was gonna be the first to suggest mulberries!

Um, what about Hawaiian fruits - pineapple and coconut?
Pineapple is actually native to South America. Coconut was very widespread on tropical seacoasts nearly around the world, not just Hawaii.
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  #42  
Old 01-26-2005, 05:07 PM
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I used to eat the fruit from wild cherry trees--the kind you make furniture from--when I was a lass wandering in the woods of Michigan and Indiana. They were small, a bit bitter and mostly seed, but they are edible and native.
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  #43  
Old 01-26-2005, 05:30 PM
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What about boysenberries. I know that they grow wild in Oregon. Delicious big berries.
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  #44  
Old 01-26-2005, 06:02 PM
cher3 cher3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robcaro
What about boysenberries. I know that they grow wild in Oregon. Delicious big berries.
No, boysenberrys are "manmade" and named after the man who developed them. If you read the history of Knott's Berry Farm you can find out about it.
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  #45  
Old 01-26-2005, 06:45 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeOnWry
Doobieous - you've got cherimoya, paw-paw and custard apple listed as three separate fruits - aren't they all the same fruit?
No.
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  #46  
Old 01-26-2005, 07:31 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Posted by LifeOnWry
Doobieous - you've got cherimoya, paw-paw and custard apple listed as three separate fruits - aren't they all the same fruit?
This just shows the problems of using common names. All three species are members of the Custard Apple family, Annonaceae. The true Custard Apple is Annona reticulata of the West Indies. However, the name is sometimes applied to several other fruits in the same genus, including the Cherimoya Annona cherimola, the Sweetsop A. squamosa, and the Soursop or Guanabana A. muricata. Pawpaw usually refers another species in the Custard Apple family, the North American Asimina triloba, but is sometimes used for the Papaya Carica papaya.
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  #47  
Old 01-26-2005, 08:44 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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A few more new world native fruits:

Mamey fruit
Sapodilla
Chayote
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  #48  
Old 01-26-2005, 08:51 PM
Reeder Reeder is offline
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Let's make this clear. The statement related to the contiguous United States.


Not the Carribean..

Not South America.
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  #49  
Old 01-26-2005, 08:59 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reeder
Let's make this clear. The statement related to the contiguous United States.
Ohh, Little America. Your OP wasn't clear on that.
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  #50  
Old 01-26-2005, 09:02 PM
Reeder Reeder is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squink
Ohh, Little America. Your OP wasn't clear on that.
When you use the word America..you are referring to the entire new world?
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