Bogotá: fruits and flowers

November 28, 2010 • 7:43 am

I have two more “vacation-snap” posts about Colombia: this one and one on harlequin (“poison arrow”) frogs.  When I was in Bogotá, my hosts kindly took me to the Plaza del Mercadeo de Paloquemao, a great central market for fruits, vegetables, flowers, and meat.  What struck me most was the technicolor array of flowers and especially tropical fruits, many of which we never see in the US.  Here are some photos:

The largesse (click to enlarge; this one is worth it!):


Guanabana (makes a lovely drink):

Chirimoya (another luscious fruit):

Lulos (makes a tasty drink):





Plantains, ordered by ripeness:

Rectangular bananas!:

Let’s not forget the veggies.  Here are some tiny potatoes (“papas criollas”); these are muy tasty:


Pepino (a melon), with some limes:

And les fleurs.  Bogotá and its environs comprise one of the world’s great sources for cut flowers. Many of these are sold at the market, at incredibly cheap prices.  A dozen nice roses, for example, will set you back about two dollars.

The flower market is open-air, including many stalls:

Lily vendor and his product:

Roses were everywhere:

Water lily blossoms:

Heliconius and other tropical stuff:

A morning’s acquisitions (not mine, but I got to hold them):

26 thoughts on “Bogotá: fruits and flowers

  1. Thanks for these. I have taken similar pictures at the market in Boston, and in Bermuda. The variety of colours, textures, shapes, etc. really do make quite entrancing patterns.

    We used to call the Chirimoya ‘custard apples.’ I forget the Hindi name for it now. Quite delicious. Very sweet.

  2. Many of those fruits are also common through many regions in Asia – and they all go by different names of course.

    I love the square bananas – you can eat them as is, steam them, boil them in a caramel syrup, toss ’em into a beef soup, fry them, fritter them – I’m sure if I traveled to more places with that fruit I’d find more uses for it. I often miss just having a bunch of them steamed. It’s best if the fruit is not overripe – maybe still a hint of green on the skin. Just steam it in the skin and let it cool before eating.

  3. Granadilla is known as passion fruit in English, and is the fruit of the vine Passiflora edulis. It’s thus fairly closely related to Passiflora mixta which was discussed here yesterday in connection to the sword-billed hummingbird.

    We don’t see fresh passion fruit much in the U.S., but the juice is often included in fruit juice mixes.

    1. Actually granadilla and passionfruit are a little different.. same family but granadilla has more of a sweet taste to it and a smoother yellower skin, whereas passionfruit is sourer and with a darker, more wrinkly skin.
      Probably close cousins though.

      1. Thanks! I just did some digging around and found that there two forms, yellow and purple, that conform to your descriptions. It almost seems they might be two distinct species, though it appears they’re usually treated more like cultivars.

        This is from Wikipedia: “In Colombia, the purple passion fruit is referred to as “gulupa”, to distinguish it from the yellow maracuyá.” I guess the market photo is of a “maracuyá” type.

        In Mexico the only name I remember hearing for these, of whatever color, is granadilla.

  4. You know, the rectangular bananas we called them “cuadrados” (squares) in my country. That fruit is the reason I find specially stupid the banana argument of Ray Comfort… I had seen a lot of banana’s shapes in my life and I knew that the Comfort’s banana is not the only shape designed by god.

  5. My kind of guy. The market is the first place I like to go when I travel someplace new.

    Get up early and take your time. Best part of traveling. I much prefer that to churches and cathedrals.

  6. The chirimoyas look like what are called in Asia (in English) ‘custard apples”, though here in Taiwan most foreigners use the translation of the local name and call them “Buddha heads”, due to their resmblance to the nubbly scalp of Shakyamuni.

  7. Should add, in my region of Taiwan they play the role of zucchini elsewhere i.e. they’re everywhere at harvest season and people come around dumping boxes and boxes of them on you, which you have to accept with appearances of enthusiasm.

  8. A Coynucopia!

    Some of your shots are not unlike scenes from the market square immediately beside the concert house in Stockholm, where the Nobel prizes are awarded.

  9. We see most of those, and others, in our supermarkets occasionally, except maybe the zapote. But I’m in a large city with a large multicultural population.

  10. I think Arachno (TeamSugar?) is right: the green ribbed things look more like chayotes (also called cho-chos around here). The trouble with all those unusual things is knowing how to cook them.

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