Meet Elsa the Wax Fruit Tree

Meet Elsa the Wax Fruit Tree. Elsa lives in a pot on our patio:

Elsa Tree 1

In case you’re not familiar with wax fruit (also called wax apple), it’s a tropical tree found all over Taiwan and virtually nowhere in the US. It is also plagued by a major case of craptacular branding, because “wax fruit” (or “wax apple,” or really, any food that starts with “wax”) conjures up a delectable image of biting into a shiny plump candle. Which is 100% not the case. Wax fruit is not the least bit waxy in flavor or texture. It is also delicious.

Wax Apple

Anyway, Elsa the Wax Fruit Tree wasn’t always Elsa the Wax Fruit Tree. For several years, she was simply known as “that tree on the patio that … ah, crap, we haven’t watered in how long now?”

My mom gave me the tree years ago, because she knows how much I love wax fruit. She figured I could grow my own fruit, and then I would never have to worry about trying to find a store that actually carried it. (Hint: 99 Ranch and other Asian supermarkets do, but only seasonally.)

I never planted the tree, though, because we plan to move out of this condo eventually, so I didn’t want to give it a permanent home, and then have to leave it when we find a new home.

And so, the wax fruit tree continues living in a pot. It seems to be doing pretty well, despite being confined to the plant equivalent of a gurney. It even grows a few fruits every now and then (though they never get any bigger than the size of a dime).

Over the years, my mom frequently asked me if I’d found a place to plant the tree. And every time, my response was that I hadn’t … yet. I think my mom finally got fed up, because she started saying that if I couldn’t find a permanent home for the tree, I should just bring it back to Irvine and plant it there.

Well, the tree is never going back to Irvine. It’s a tiny sliver of a connection to my mom and the amazing garden she cultivated in her back yard. And that’s why I decided to name it after her. It’s fitting, actually, as both Elsa’s are at this point in a state of limbo, where they’re being kept alive, but also not really living.

But hey, try not to confuse Elsa the Wax Fruit Tree with Elsa My Mom. (If you do, just remember that one Elsa is a fruit, and the other Elsa is a vegetable.)

Look. I will joke about my mom’s sad state if I damned well please.

By the way, here’s Elsa the Wax Fruit Tree’s older sibling, who lives in the back yard of Elsa My Mom’s house in Irvine:

Elsa Sibling

One day soon, we’ll have to leave the older sibling in Irvine, to be cared for — and hopefully, not chopped down — by a new family.

But not Elsa. One day soon, I hope we’ll find Elsa the Wax Fruit Tree a permanent home where we can spend many years together.

Also one day soon, I hope Elsa My Mom will find peace at what looks increasingly likely to be her permanent home in Taiwan.

Or … well, who knows? Maybe she has already found peace. I guess that’s kind of hard to say at this point.


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