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薜荔Climbing Fig or Creeping Fig (Bili)

 

薜荔
 
薜(ㄅ一ˋ)荔在臺灣全島的平野至低海拔山區均可見到,中北部尤其多見。經常爬生於石壁、圍牆或樹幹上,藉著發達的氣根固定自己的身軀往上爬,爭取更多的陽光。人們經常分不清楚愛玉與薜荔的差異,愛玉葉子大而尖,薜荔的葉子則略小且形鈍;愛玉果實較大,呈長橢圓形或接近球形,表面散布白色斑點,薜荔果實則較小,呈倒圓錐形或球形,僅尾端有白色斑點。薜荔的成熟種子含溶於水的果膠,易形成半透明狀,或淺黃色的凝膠,也跟愛玉子一樣,可以搓揉出果膠製成果凍。
 
Climbing Figs (Bili) can be found everywhere in Taiwan, from the plains to low-elevation mountain regions, and especially in central and northern Taiwan. They generally use their aerial roots to firmly station themselves, and climb stone walls, fences, or tree trunks to receive more sunlight. People generally cannot tell the difference between Climbing Figs and Ficus pumila var. awkeotsang (Aiyu). The leaves of Aiyu are bigger and pointier, those of Climbing Figs smaller and blunt.Aiyu fruit are bigger and have a long, oval shape with white spots scattered on the surface, whereas those of Climbing Figs are smaller and reverse-conoid-shaped, with white spots appearing only on the tips. The mature seeds of Climbing Figs contain water-soluble pectin, readily producing a semiopaque or light-yellow gel used to make jelly, just like Aiyu seeds.