Fruit trees are hardly limited to the farm; many households plant them around the house for their obvious utilitarian purpose. Sugarcane makes a good natural fence, since it grows tall and straight. A member of the grass family, sugarcane takes about a year to mature. Most gardens around the Virgin Islands  have a small patch, not for sugar production, but for chewing and eating on its own. Other fixtures in many backyard gardens are banana and plantain “trees.” These fast-growing plants are distinguishable by their long, slatted leaves. After the plant has produced, it is cut down, and a new one will sprout in its place. The whole process takes about nine months.
Magnificent fruit trees are abundant in the Virgin Islands. Avocado pear trees are handsome, especially when they droop with the weight of ripe avocados every summer. These tropical avocados are large and bright green but just as tasty as the small, dark fruits familiar in the supermarkets of North America. Another fruit tree sure to catch your eye is the breadfruit, which grows to towering heights and has large, lobed, handsome leaves. The fruit grows to be as large as a basketball and ripens during the summer. It is basically tasteless but can be seasoned and roasted, boiled, or fried. The fruit is not highly prized, however, and often goes uneaten.
Other common fruit trees are the guava, mango, and papaya. Guava trees are bushy and produce small, lemon-sized fruits used to make guava candy and preserves. The mango is probably the most popular tropical fruit; its sweet, juicy flesh is the perfect finish to any meal. The trees themselves are handsome, with long, droopy leaves that produce dense shade. Few household yards are without a mango tree of their own. Papayas, the other favorite tropical fruit, ripen just below the leaves on the fast-growing papaya tree. Pick these out by their tall, slender stalks and round, intricately lobed leaves.