Fruits & Vegetables

Dead Man’s Fingers fruit

Botanical Name: Decaisnea
Family: Lardizabalaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Decaisnea

Common Names:
Dead Man’s Fingers, Blue bean plant or Blue sausage fruit.

Habitat : Dead Man’s Fingers fruit is native to eastern Asia, from China west to Nepal and south to Myanmar. It grows in East. Asia – W. China. It is seen in the moist woods and thickets to 1600 metres. Mixed forests, scrub on mountain slopes, wet area in ravines at elevations of 900 – 3600 metres

The genus consists of one or two species, depending on taxonomic opinion. Decaisnea insignis (Griffith) Hook.f. & Thomson was described from Nepal, and is sometimes restricted to the plants occurring in the Himalaya, with Chinese plants distinguished as Decaisnea fargesii Franchet. The only cited distinction between the plants from the two regions is the fruit colour, yellow-green in D. insignis and bluish in D. fargesii. This is of little significance and the two are now combined under the older name D. insignis by some authors.

Decaisnea are deciduous shrubs or small trees growing to 5 to 8 meters tall with trunks up to 20 centimeters in diameter. The leaves are pinnate, 60 to 90 cm long, with up to 25 leaflets each up to 15 cm long and 10 cm broad. The flowers are produced in drooping panicles 25 to 50 cm long. Each flower is 3 to 6 cm wide with greenish-yellow sepals and no petals. The fruit is a soft greenish-yellow to blue-black pod-like follicle up to 10 cm long and 3 cm diameter. It contains a transparent, glutinous, jelly-like pulp containing numerous (Usually around 40) flat black seeds about a centimeter wide. The pulp is edible however the seeds are not. The flavor of D. fargesii fruit pulp has been described as sweet and similar to watermelon, and the texture described as “gelatinous”. D. insignis fruit has been described as “bland” and jelly-like.


Cultivation and uses:
Decaisnea is grown as an ornamental plant for its foliage and decorative fruit, bright blue in many cultivated specimens. Most plants in cultivation derive from Chinese seed and are commonly grown under the name D. fargesii. The plants are successfully grown in cooler temperate climates, and in fertile, well-drained soil. They are tolerant of temperatures as low as ?15 °C (5 °F).

Edible Uses:Fruit is eaten raw. A sweet taste, but rather insipid. A very nice delicate flavour according to our palates. The fruit looks like a bright blue sausage or broad bean pod and is up to 10cm long. You peel off the skin in much the same way as you would peel a broad bean pod, this reveals a line of seed running the entire length of the fruit surrounded by a relatively thin layer of flesh The fruit is valued for eating by the Lepcha people of Sikkim.


Medicinal Uses: No appreciable medicianal uses is found but as a fruit it has good foodvalue for human.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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