Mystery vine baffled experts

The mystery vine Caigua, an Andean plant grown for its edible fruit

The mystery vine Caigua, an Andean plant grown for its edible fruit

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FOR almost two years a keen gardener had been baffled by a strange plant that seemed to thrive in his garden and was surprised to discover its origins were in the Andes.

Peter Sayers, 79, of Inglewood Gardens, St Leonards, said: “We had a vine appear in the garden quite prolific with strong growth, it went over the hedge with fascinating fruits and protruding spines.

“The only thing was, nobody could give it a name.”

Neither Hastings rangers nor the local garden centre were able to identify the plant, but when he sent a sample fruit to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank project, he received an unexpected response.

A seed expert came to the conclusion that the plant was the ancient Andean vegetable Caigua (cyclanthera pedata), grown for its edible fruit.

Mr Sayers thinks that the original seed must have amongst bird seed scattered in his garden, and hopes that the plant returns this spring.