Beach Nuts

I’m thinking these firm, brown 4 inch-wide items from a Sarasota neighborhood are NOT actually nuts. Maybe not even fruits.

It looks to me like there are root and shoot buds showing on the surface, and maybe this tropical tree presumed vegetative growth would float, find its way to land elsewhere, sprout roots and shoots, and thus become established in new territory.

That story could be all wrong.

Surely somebody will recognize these lumpy unknowns. Anyone?

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I suspect that they are the fruits of dioscorea bulbifera, air potato. At this time of the year, the vine is dormant and these fruits lie all over the ground. Beware the Ides of March – that is when the big tubers start to sprout. The tubers can be as big as basketballs. I fought this plant for three years and used 15 gallons of RoundUp concentrate to eradicate it. It is a very bad exotic vine.