Bogotá: fruits and flowers

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):


  1. Posted November 28, 2010 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Good buy!

  2. Lee
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    The fruits looks delish!

  3. Posted November 28, 2010 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    That photo with your holding many flower bouquets could only be improved if you were wearing your peacock feather boots.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted November 28, 2010 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      He does look like a Happy Cat!

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted November 28, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Permalink


      You really want those boots, don’t you?

      • Posted November 28, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Who *doesnt* want those boots??

        Also, thats like, the most adorable picture ever!

  4. Eric MacDonald
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    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.

  5. MadScientist
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    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.

    • Dominic
      Posted November 29, 2010 at 4:35 am | Permalink

      For how long?

  6. theshortearedowl
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I was introduced to guanabana in the Caribbean (they called it soursop). Best. Thing. Ever.

  7. Laurence
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    How funny, I’m just on my way to Paloquemao now! The cheapest and most interesting place to do the weekly shop!

  8. Achrachno
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Laurence
      Posted November 28, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      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.

      • Achrachno
        Posted November 28, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        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.

  9. Posted November 28, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    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.

  10. Gary Radice
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    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.

  11. Posted November 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Your photos reminded me of my trips to Costa Rica — and its excellent produce.

    I have to visit Columbia someday.

  12. MikeN
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    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.

  13. MikeN
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Posted November 29, 2010 at 12:50 am | Permalink

      One of my Mom friends from Taiwan told me they say papaya “tastes like a woman”. Yes–that’s *exactly* what she meant… ;-))

  14. Hempenstein
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Posted November 29, 2010 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      “A Coynucopia!”

      Worst. Pun. Ever! (and therefore, according to pun-logic, the best :-))

    • Dominic
      Posted November 29, 2010 at 4:36 am | Permalink

      very droll!

  15. Achrachno
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m uneasy with the pepino photo. The frt. i know as pepino is Solanum muricatum and looks more like this:

    I think this frt. is one of the spiny-skinned chayote cultivars. Like this:

  16. Posted December 9, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    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.

  17. Posted December 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    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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