Elaeocarpus spp. Rudraksha - Elaeocarpaceae

This genus, Elaeocarpus spp., native to the tropics and warm parts of the Old World, has fruits that are bluish drupes (a drupe is a fleshy fruit enclosing a nut or stone which contains the seed such as plum, cherry, apricot or olive ).  An edible pulp surrounds a deeply wrinkled, pitted brown stone. 

Known as rudraksha seeds in India, they may have been the earliest form of prayer beads.  They are a revered and sacred seed for the Hindus who worship Lord Shiva.  Used as prayer beads as early as 200 B.C., they are often worn as a necklace by followers who call them the 'eye of Shiva'.  The rough surface of the seed symbolizes the austere life expected of worshippers, while the five furrows represent the five aspects of Shiva.10

As the pulp is difficult to remove from the deep crevices of the stones, they are left outdoors for fruit flies to lay eggs on them.  In a few weeks larvae have completely cleaned out the furrows.

 
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