Dead Man’s Fingers: an Eerie Fruit

You might have heard of the starfruit, dragonfruit, or blood orange, but have you ever heard of dead man’s fingers?  It has a very strange name, but it is a fruit and can be eaten.  The shape and color of dead man’s fingers are also quite unique; the fruit is a bluish-black to greenish pod, which hangs with other pods from the branches. Soft, with a skin-like peel, these clumps of fruits hang eerily like a human hand.

Since these creepy fruits ripen near Halloween…

Originated from China, the fruit is around 4-10 cm long and 3 cm in diameter, containing small, black 1 cm wide seeds.  The flesh is translucent and glutinous, sweet with a taste similar to watermelon, which ranges from bland to very sweet.  It’s often described to have a gelatinous taste, perhaps like jelly.  To add to the eerie fun of this fruit, it ripens in the fall, near Halloween.

Dead man’s fingers are also grown as an ornamental plant; it has eye-catching blue fruits and attractive drooping flowers.  The type of dead man’s fingers that come from China are the most commonly cultivated.  They grow well in cooler temperatures and fertile soil.

Don’t confuse the fruit called dead man’s fingers with the others.  There are 3 types of dead man’s fingers– one is the fruit shrub (what this article is about), another is a mushroom, and the last a type of coral or seaweed.

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