Plant of the Month: Poha/cape gooseberry

Poha fruit falls to the ground when fully ripe. (Kim and Forest Starr/courtesy photo)

The fuzzy leaves and green lantern containing developing poha fruit make an interesting addition to a garden. (Kim and Forest Starr/courtesy photo)

Once pollinated the small yellow poha flower develops into a tasty berry. (Kim and Forest Starr/courtesy photo)

Fresh poha fruit is tasty eaten out of hand. (Kim and Forest Starr/courtesy photo)

Ripe poha fruit is wrapped in a thin paper cloak. ( photo)

If you want to try a tasty, fruit that grows on a small, spreading shrub, you might consider poha, known as cape gooseberry in English. Here in Hawaii, poha can flower and fruit nearly year-round, producing lots of berries, especially in the summer. Each of the one- to two-inch orbs appears wrapped in its own papery covering, protecting the ripe yellow fruit. The small, sweet fruit is a tasty delight for gardeners young and old. Now is a good time to get your own poha started for a bountiful harvest starting this spring.