*notcot in playful , 14:16

Birthday Monkey Balls?- 12.08.08

monkeyballs1.jpg Ok, Marcia, you win. Best birthday surprise ever ~ mysterious creepy flower guy tapping on the glass door ~ card in handwriting i can’t recognize with just a “Happy Birthday Jean. Here’s to another year of fun!”… signed Marcia? But it looked strangely more like Maria? (Florists! You need better handwriting!) And then there’s the flowers ~ awesomest mix of orchids, roses, moss, and…. WTF is that really awesome hairy ball? Do i have to feed it?

Sooooo that turns into an adventure calling the florist, who of course says they know nothing and got the order through the internet… but does say that those hairy green balls of awesome are… MONKEY BALLS! And then a few more back and forth emails, Marcia confirms it’s her, but the florists calls her to confirm she can tell me her name, and then calls me back as Marcia emails me to say the florist called… in between all of that i shot a bunch of pictures of this incredible bundle on my desk to share with you.

I’m also currently googling Monkey Balls, which is not coming up with many things that look at all like this… anyone got a scientific name for these things for me? Enjoy the pics on the next page! And Marcia, thanks again!!! SO awesome, best way to get me to stop working and get totally giddy… hehe. THANKS!

UPDATE: Jump to pics of the opened up balls!


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UPDATE!!! Here they are busted open….. (i couldn’t resist, so pulled one apart)
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and then a few days later they looked like this!
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And here’s ANOTHER Update ~ day after i pulled all those danglies off, woke up to what looked like a freaky wig!
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22 Notes

I agree that it is a type of Milkweed, we have similar plants with pods like that throughout the wildlife fields in S.Minnesota. As a kid, we were told to not ruin the plants because insects swarmed to the sap.

----- Rob 21.12.08 01:48

“Giant Swan Milkweed” - I’m pretty sure that is what they are called, after all, we happen to have an area 5metres X 5metres covered in them. Small shrubs that grow about 1.5 metres high. Great fun when your kids. they are called giant swan for the reason that when you pick them, stem intact, they float in water and look exactly like swans. also they are filled with a milky white sap.

THEY MAKE GREAT POPPING NOIZES WHEN YOU SQUEEZE THEM!

----- Benjamin 20.12.08 23:30

Yea it looks just like the milkweed plant seedpods that we have all over in Oklahoma.

----- Michael 20.12.08 21:28

These are lovely! Would you mind mentioning the florist? I’d like to order for a friend. Thanks! M

----- M 13.12.08 16:07

Those are actually Carnivori Echinopsis, a distant relative of the man-eater, or Venus Fly Trap. There are two types, and it is nearly impossible to tell which you have until they have either blossomed into a beautiful flower, or into a carnivorous, acid producing monstrosity that is weed-like in nature, raping the soil of all nutrients and asphyxiating the roots of nearby vegetation. Let’s hope you have the former!

Because of the mysterious nature of this plant, it is very VERY important that you DO NOT EAT it. It can be incredibly poisonous, and make you very ill. In some instances, it can be deadly, especially if you have an allergy to pollen or sulphites.

While beautiful, it is a good idea to keep in mind the dangers some of the most beautiful occurrences in nature. The Aurora Borealis displays a symphony of colors, it is important to remember that this beauty is caused by the incredibly violent reaction of solar winds colliding with our Blue Planet’s Ionosphere.

The plant, in Form 2, has also been known to sing a willowy song, like tiny whisps of air, which can keep you up all night. This comes from the opening of its Stomata of night, which allows the plant to breathe Co2 from the air. This phenomenon is common in plant life, but no other known plant produces a noise by the contraction and dilatation of it’s Stomata. If you allow the plant to grow large enough, the neighbors will start to complain of noise disturbances. It is a well-recorded event that should be available to you through the Freedom of Information Act. Please reference your nearest Public Library and request the local Police Incident files.

Echinopsis is maternal in nature, so if you have friends over, please advise them to avoid speaking of PTO meetings, and local gossip. Echinopsis loves gossip, and will not leave you alone for hours until there is nothing more to say on the matter. And we all know there is ALWAYS something to say on the matter.

Do not look Echinopsis directly in the Areoles, as they are very self-conscious about their physical features and bemoan their roots that make intense cardio workouts a mere dream.

Do not water too often. Though they need water to live, water acts as an intoxicant and your Carnivori Echinopsis may become belligerent. Because they are rooted to the spot, however, they usually resort to name-calling and leaking onto the plate under the pot, in the case they have had too much to drink.

They are also very spoiled, as they prefer a naturally-distilled water such as Fiji or Acqua Panna. They will refuse to drink Dasani or Aquafina, and kill themselves by detatching their blossoms from their roots and jumping off whatever table or stand you have placed their pot. If you give them regular tap water, they will explode into a fiery ball similar to the fabled “Ball Lightening” of the Arizona Desert, where scientists have traced the Echinopsis’ origins. If transported, they prefer a Luxury SUV. If you only have access to a sedan, it must be blue, as it compliments the plant’s natural tones without overpowering.

With time, patience and practice, however, you can learn to sustain a positive and healthy relationship with your new plant!

I encourage you to enjoy your gift, but please heed caution and tread carefully.

P.S. if your plant mentions anything about a “Quick Brown Fox”, please give tap water immediately. It is trying to learn typography, spelling, and communication, and is staging a coup. It must be destroyed.

----- Rick C 09.12.08 08:52

Is it possible to say where they were ordered online? They are beautiful and I would like to send some to my wife.

----- Ed 09.12.08 08:33

Hehe ~ thanks everyone for the ideas

To answer a few questions
- not solid ~ its completely hollow and feels like a very thin shell
- it is not a fruit, and florists says it doesn’t open (naturally) - to those who said rambutan, similar only in the hairyness, none of the awesome sweet fruitiness inside (that was my favorite childhood fruit in the tropics)

Betty ~ i think you’re totally right! Thanks! They look exactly like that
=)

I found another pic here - http://butterflyattracting.com/?p=68

I wonder if the florist just decided to call them monkey balls…

----- jean/NOTCOT 09.12.08 06:29

I’ve seen this plant in the Philippines. but we call them “bayag ni San Pedro” which quite literally means “the balls of St. Peter”…sorry, really, that’s what we call them.

----- wya 09.12.08 06:11

If they’re heavy, then they contain a nut. They look like a variety of chestnuts. We have them here in the wild, a variety called Horse Chestnuts. They grow to the size of a baseball, weight 2lbs, and are covered in hard green spikes. We throw them at each other. They hurt. They really hurt.

----- Tagloff 09.12.08 05:49

they do look eerily similar to rambutans, which by the way are delicious.

----- hobowithashotgun 09.12.08 05:46

They’re the seed pods from swan plants…

The plants that Monarch Butterflies lay their eggs on….

We used to have them in our garden growing up as kids, we could watch the full life cycle of butterflies on the front door step…

Memories… :D

----- Betty 09.12.08 00:46

Hi Jean
Yup we get these ‘monkey balls’ here in South Africa, though never heard of them called that! However the local term here is ‘Mal pitte’, an Afrikaans word, which means ‘Mad seeds’. It is actually like a weed here,and will dry out, with the spikes hardening. It then splits as it drys, and expells small black seeds,and yes they are narcotic! I know a Designer here, who when a student smoked those seeds, we found him nearly two days later in the suburb, still mildly high, and only wearing his underpants! -it was hilarious!

----- Vincent 09.12.08 00:29

Who could ask for anything better?!!! seems like you are all about the balls lately …. no pun intended!!! Hope you had a lovely and marvelous bday!!! For sure will ask you about it tomorrow!!! all the best now and always!

----- jackie 08.12.08 23:35

Hmm strange… they look suspiciously like Rambutans.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambutan

----- Navin 08.12.08 20:32

also, quite poisonous if ingested. (seriously!)
marcia’s signals are mixed.

----- seismologist 08.12.08 17:42

Wow, I didn’t know that they were called monkey balls … even better! Anything to get you to stop workaholic-ing on your birthday. The other plant called monkey balls is kind of gross-looking.

----- marcia 08.12.08 17:42

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JEAN!!
Hairy Monkey Balls- how lucky are you! :)

----- Beth 08.12.08 16:08

I think Don’s right. AKA Giant Swan Milkweed. Happy Birthday!

----- Danica 08.12.08 15:37

This may help:
Hairy Balls‚ plant from South Africa. Its Latin name is simply wonderful; Gomphocarpus physocarpus (Synonym Asclepias fruticosa).

----- don 08.12.08 14:47

Wild cucumber.

----- Danica 08.12.08 14:36

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