There's a moderately popular fruit found in India known as panifal or singada in Hindi. The fruit comes from an aquatic plant that grows in stagnant or slow-moving water up to 10-15 foot deep. Here's what it looks like:

The fruit

The plant

Searching online, I find the fruit has several names in English including water caltrop, water chestnut, buffalo nut, bat nut, devil pod, and ling nut. In China, the name is língjiǎo and in Japan, hishi. I want to know if the fruit is at all known in America. And if so, what's the name it goes by out there?

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    I've certainly heard the name "water chestnuts" before, but I believe they were referring to what's known as the Chinese water chestnut, Elepcharis dulcis which is a different plant from the one you've pictured. Personally, I've never seen a nut like the one in your image, nor heard of any nut/fruit/vegetable called a "water caltrop", "buffalo nut", "bat nut", "devil pod" or "ling nut". Given that someone's gon to the trouble of naming it a "Buffalo nut", which refers to a North American animal, I'm sure they're available here, somewhere. – Dan Bron Dec 1 '14 at 8:07
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    "Buffalo" originally and primarily refers to non-american mammals, including Asian water buffalo. Although used incorrectly to refer to the American bison, "buffalo" is not originally an American word. See etymonline.com/index.php?term=buffalo – Brian Hitchcock Dec 1 '14 at 9:02
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    @DanBron If the Wikipedia articles are to be trusted, the nomenclatural ambiguity is also present in India: सिंघाड़ा singhada is given as the name commonly used for both the water caltrop and the water chestnut in Hindi (though the water chestnut article doesn’t mention pani-phal as a possible Indian name). They’re quite distinct in Chinese, though: the water chestnut is 荸荠 bíqi or 马蹄 mǎtí (lit. ‘horseshoe’), while the water caltrop is 菱 líng or 菱角 língjiǎo (hence ling nut). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 1 '14 at 12:46
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    They're pretty good at plant ID over at Gardening and Landscaping: gardening.stackexchange.com – Wayfaring Stranger Dec 1 '14 at 13:45

I have never seen them, but this blogger reports finding them in Berkley, CA, under the name caltrop nuts. Based on the name of the blog, I infer that they are still considered "exotic" in America. http://soulcocina.blogspot.com/2006/07/exotic-ingredients-strange-fruit.html?m=1


I often find them on the banks of the Hudson river in NY. I've collected them for years (thinking they looked quite extraterrestrial) and showed them to people, asking for identification. "Devil Pod" was the only answer I ever got.


Wikipedia lists them as water caltrops first, with the other names following behind. If you're looking to market them, that's a nice, distinctive name that won't be confused with anything else.

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    Well, not with anything edible, at least. – Ilmari Karonen Dec 1 '14 at 18:15
  • @IlmariKaronen Given their appearance, it's clear why they have that name. – JAB Nov 10 '17 at 23:57

protected by user140086 Dec 1 '16 at 11:26

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