By Mark Wineka
SALISBURY - If a tree produces "eggs," as Barbara Kesler's does, shouldn't it be called a chicken tree?
But Kesler prefers to call her plant an egg tree, and she's puzzled by it.
"I don't know nothing about my egg tree, except that it grew," Kesler declares. "... All I do is just water it."
Back in March, Kesler's 7-year-old granddaughter gave her the seeds for this tree. It was a 76th birthday present for Kesler.
The seeds were planted immediately in a pot on Kesler's porch, and now she has a good-sized plant producing, for want of a better description, eggs.
Some of the "eggs" are white. Others have turned yellow.
Kesler had a party at her house recently, and she asked everyone in attendance whether they had ever seen an egg tree.
"Well, go up on my porch, and you'll see one," she told them.
Some investigation on various websites - including outsidepride.com and eHow - suggests that Kesler really does have an egg tree.
A "Golden Egg Tree," or ornamental eggplant.
It's a tropical plant that grows about 3 feet tall and produces an egg-shaped fruit. The "eggs" usually start out white and turn yellow or golden as they mature.
Kesler confirms, as the ornamental eggplant descriptions say, that her tree also has had purple flowers.
The egg-shaped fruit is edible, according to most sources, but it can have a bitter taste.
"A ripe fruit will taste like a melon and can be eaten raw after peeled," outsidepride.com says.
The website says the raw fruit can be baked, grilled, fried, braised and served as a vegetable in curry or sauce. It's also a good addition to salads.
While young plants, such as Kesler's can produce 10 to 20 eggs, fully grown plants can produce up to 50 eggs.
Kesler has yet to try and eat her eggs.
Omelets, anyone?Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.