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Messages - SoCal2warm

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Citrus General Discussion / Re: Satsuma mandarins may be related to Yuzu
« on: December 14, 2017, 08:39:09 PM »
This study looked at DNA markers in Satsuma mandarin, to try to determine its origins, and found it grouped closely with Kishu and Kunenbo mandarins.
(Kunenbo is also thought to be the genetic parent of Kinkoji/Bloomsweet, another cold hardy Japanese citrus)

Apparently what is known as "King mandarin" in the USA, falls within the Kunenbo-type mandarins.

What is known as Kara mandarin seems more similar to an orange, with a slightly grapefruit flavor, and seems to grow very well in Japan handling some frost, it was a cross between Satsuma and King mandarin. It has similar cold hardiness to Satsuma but the fruit requires slightly warmer temperatures to reach full ripeness.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Satsuma mandarins may be related to Yuzu
« on: December 14, 2017, 04:06:27 AM »
here's my yuzu with fruit on it

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Ichang lemon seeds in refrigerator.
« on: December 11, 2017, 12:55:05 AM »
I don't think citrus seeds generally last long in the refrigerator, maybe about 2 months. (inside sealed plastic bag) The paper towel should not be wet but it should be just moist enough to prevent the seeds from drying out. Scrubbing them and dipping in a dilute solution of bleach will help prevent mold growing on them later.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Satsuma mandarins may be related to Yuzu
« on: December 07, 2017, 11:05:20 PM »
Yuzu, Ichang papeda, and Changsha are believed to be closely related, but it's not sure how they are related. I believe it may not be a direct relationship of one being the simple parent of the other.

In general it is usually viewed that Yuzu is a hybrid of Ichang papeda, but I believe it could also be very possible that the two just share the same two ancestors, with differing degrees of heritage. This postulates some original pure papeda species that no longer is found in existence today, with the Ichang papeda coming closest to resembling that original ancestor in morphology. Yuzu appears closer to Ichang papeda than Changsha is, and it's possible Changsha evolved separately, although no one is completely sure.

Yuzu did originate in China in ancient times before it came to Japan. But like many other plants of Chinese origin, it first came to the West by way of Japan. (Another little example, in America we most commonly refer to Tofu by its Japanese name, though on a menu in a Chinese restaurant it's referred to as bean curd). In 1914, the famous U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher Frank Meyer (for whom the "Meyer" lemon is named after) a plant explorer for the USDA, discovered Yuzu growing wild in the southern part of Gansu province in China, among palms, loquats and bamboo. He estimated that the temperatures in that area dipped to 10 F, and no other cultivated citrus grew nearby. Although he originally named it "Kansu orange", he later realized this citrus was identical to the Japanese Yuzu the USDA already had in their collections.

It's just that in China Yuzu appears to have fallen into obscurity, whereas in Japan it became prevalent and valued for bath fragrance and cuisine. There are many possible for reasons for this, all the civil wars in China, and Japan having a more limited variety of different culinary plant species that could grow. Of course now with China rapidly developing and opening up to the rest of the world, the name "Yuzu" is becoming a little problematic since in China the word is now used to refer to pomelo (and even sometimes grapefruit).

Citrus General Discussion / Satsuma mandarins may be related to Yuzu
« on: December 07, 2017, 04:17:49 AM »
This is just a hunch but something I've suspected is that Satsuma mandarins may in fact have ancestry from Yuzu.
There are a couple of things that causes me to think this.

Satsuma mandarins are more yellow in hue than the deep orange of other mandarin fruits.

Satsuma shows significantly more cold hardiness than other mandarins.
The only other mandarin types known to be cold hardier than Satsuma are Keraji and Changsha. Keraji is also fairly yellowish in color, and I suspect has heritage from Nansho Daidai (also I believe descended from Yuzu). Changsha is very reddish orange in color and originates from a drier more interior part of China (and as far as I know it was never brought over to Japan) so I believe Changsha is probably separate and does not have anything to do with the origins of Satsuma. Both these two mandarins are not anywhere near the same level of edibility and deliciousness as Satsuma, and the fruit of both are smaller in size as well.

Although the flavor of Satsuma does not have as much tang as other mandarin varieties, there is something in the aroma of Satsuma that is very aromatic and deep, it reminds me of Yuzu. Other mandarin varieties do not really have this quality.

Under the Japanese system, Satsuma-type mandarins are classified in a completely separate family from the other mandarins, though they are all considered to be mikan.
The Satsuma-type mandarin originally came from China, though it later became far more popular in Japan than China.

Just to clear up a little bit of language naming ambiguity, originally "yuzu" was the Chinese name for sour citrus in particular pomelo, but the Japanese took this word and applied it to the citrus now most commonly known as Yuzu (C. junos). The Chinese refered to this citrus as xiang feng (translates as "fragrant orange").
Some of you might note the similarity here to the name "Shangjuan" (fragrant ball). Shangjuan and Xiang yuan are just alternative romanized spellings of the same Chinese word. Among the cold-hardy growing citrus community in America and Europe, Shangjuan has typically refered to the citrus also known as Ichang Lemon (not quite the same citrus as Ichang papeda). However, in China Xiang yuan more commonly refers to the Chinese citron. The Ichang Lemon and Yuzu (C. junos) still exist in China but are very rare, and most Chinese in these regions don't have any knowledge of them. In contrast, Yuzu is well established in traditional Japanese cuisine, and after declining in popularity for a while, has even made a modern comeback in flavored food and beverage products. Most of these citrus were brought over to Japan during the Tang Dynasty (late 7th Century). (The pomelo reached Japan later, from Taiwan, probably since they were only found in the Southernmost parts of China, and weren't as cold hardy as the more mandarin-type fruits)

The reason is that generally citrus are not worth growing from seed, better to buy trees from a nursery. This is not necessarily the case with rare varieties, since nurseries may not carry them. One positive aspect about seeds is they are very cheap and easy to ship in the mail, but a negative aspect about them is that citrus seeds tend to have a short shelf life and would need to be shipped out soon after the fruits are harvested. This makes the normal "buy it when I see it" business model very difficult.

Something many people may not realize, if you grow from seed you're going to be waiting a very long time for fruit. This is due to two reasons. First, the seed takes time to grow to a small sized plant, the type you'd find at a nursery, and young seedlings can be more vulnerable to temperature and environmental conditions. The second reason is that if a fruit tree is not grafted onto different rootstock, the tree will keep growing and growing and get quite a big size before it starts producing fruit. The dwarfing effect of a rootstock diverts the tree's energy to fruit production rather than growth, earlier in the tree's lifespan. In addition, depending what citrus variety it is, there is a chance it may not grow true to seed, meaning the fruit characteristics may not be the same as the parent. That's what happens when genes genes get shuffled around. Most fruit growers find the risk is not worth tending to a tree and waiting many years.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Citrumelos in England
« on: December 05, 2017, 06:41:46 PM »
This is a small tree growing at the back of a house in the Wollaton area of Nottingham.

The owner planted it about 29 years ago, and having obtained the plant from a nursery in Lincolnshire. When contacted, the now retired owner of the nursery stated he had received cold-hardy citrus seeds from the USA and was told they came from a citrumelo, the particular variety being 'Dunstan'.

This tree does have trifoliate leaves and the fruits were observed to be bigger than those of Poncirus. It's possible this tree may be a hybrid of Dunstan citrumelo with something else.

The grower of this tree believed at first that the plant was from seeds of Troyer Citrange. However, 13 years before this picture was taken he had also been sent Swingle citrumelo seeds, so he now believes that is what this is, since the fruits look a lot more like Citrumelo than Citrange. The tree is in the county of Buckinghamshire, and regularly experiences frosts from late September to early May, and in more recent years experienced minimum temperatures down to -12 C (10.4 F).

The tree is more like a rounded shrub about 2m (6ft) tall and wide. It is growing close to a rhododendron, and the fruits developed quite low down and hidden by the rhododendron leaves. The owner never noticed flowers or developing fruit until December when, to his great surprise, he noticed eight fully formed yellow fruits growing at the very bottom of the tree.

Unfortunately the taste was completely awful, even worse than poncirus.
The fruit shows a very thick pith. This does sometimes happen when growing citrus in cool climates. Seeds appeared to be poorly formed.

The next specimen is not a citrumelo at all but is believed to be a grapefruit, growing outside in London!
A seedling was sown in 1948 and kept in a pot until 1990, when the original owner died. It is now growing in the Chelsea Physic Garden, and has fruited regularly since 1998. It's in the corner of a sheltered walled garden.

It's worth noting that being located in the center of a large city probably has an effect on the localized climate, and the garden is located next to the Thames river.

credit: all pictures and above information come from

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Found a grapefruit tree
« on: December 05, 2017, 12:17:25 PM »
It is also thought that trees grown on their own roots may be better able to survive than nursery trees growing on typical grafted rootstock, probably because trees growing on their own roots have more vigor. (of course that can also mean a long wait time until the tree reaches fruiting maturity)

It's unfortunate because oranges on older trees taste better. Also this just coincides with the trend of smaller trees packed closer together. A hundred years ago it was very common for orchards to consist of big trees, with space between them. But as time went on, the trees got smaller and smaller, and more closely planted, for a variety of reasons. So today's orchards do not provide as pleasant scenery as the ones in old times.

Valencia orange and Temple orange (actually more accurately described as a tangor). Page mandarins (which is actually a tangelo cross) might also be worth considering.

Well, you are in Trinidad, and citrus seedlings already grow quite fast there compared to colder less tropical climates. Perhaps a little bit of shade cloth during the hottest part of the year might be helpful for the small seedlings.

Be sure the seedlings have ample root space to grow and keep them consistently watered.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Maybe A New Root Stock?
« on: November 30, 2017, 04:24:04 PM »
Do finger limes have any particular cold resistance?
The desert finger limes are believed to have about as much cold resistance as Satsuma mandarins, if not perhaps slightly more. I don't know about regular finger limes (but I can assume they'd be less cold hardy than the desert limes because the climate region where they are indigenous to has more moderate temperatures).

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Lights????
« on: November 28, 2017, 12:08:58 PM »
I saw a video comparing side by side plants growing under red + blue LEDs compared to plants growing under all white LEDs. The plants under white LED light looked noticeably better.

It's true red + blue LED is theoretically more efficient at being converted to energy by chlorophyll. But plants have several different chlorophyll pigments and if it's all red + blue light that may be overload on merely one of the pathways plants have for converting light to energy. Although I still think light penetration into the leaf is a more important issue. If almost all the light is being absorbed by the chlorophyll in the surface layer of the leaf, that's an overload, and then the light is not making it down to the deeper cell layers in the leaf. Deep red wavelengths have some penetration but shorter blue wavelengths are very strongly absorbed. Of course leaves have the greatest transparency to green light.
They did not run the experiment in that video but I'm very sure plants would grow better under white + red LED than they would under all white.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Lights????
« on: November 28, 2017, 11:21:17 AM »
Any way that uses electricity to generate heat does not have higher efficiency than an incandescent bulb. (conversion of electricity to heat in a heating element is quite efficient and they're all the same). However, a heating pad can provide more direct application of heat to the plant, so not as much heat needs to be generated. And it's also true that all the infrared from incandescent can make leaves more vulnerable to drying out, but this is only the case when the plant is a warmer temperature than the surrounding air (so not so much an issue inside a small humid enclosure).

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Bergamot is a worth to try tree?
« on: November 28, 2017, 11:09:19 AM »
Eating more than a small amount may not be a good thing, might lead to skin sensitivity if you're out in the sun. The fruits are pretty bitter anyway so I don't think you'd want to eat more than a small amount.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Lights????
« on: November 28, 2017, 01:18:58 AM »
I've found that for small enclosures, you may as well use incandescent bulbs because plants need all that heat. While incandescents are supposedly "less efficient", an incandescent is no more less efficient if you are also using an electric heating pad inside that enclosure. 100% of the energy is converted to both heat and light. Fluorescents and LEDs don't really generate enough heat to keep it warm enough in there during winter time. I'm talking about inside the house.
(For those of you who might not know, halogens are just a different form of incandescent)

The only exception might be if you have multiple shelves inside that enclosure, with multiple different lights for each shelf, and in that case something like LED grow lights may be able to keep it warm enough, especially if combined with another type of light.

I've also found, that in actual practice, the type of light source doesn't seem to make much difference. The plant mostly responds to the amount of light. But blue light, especially the light from a CFL, is more prone to cause leaf burn at higher light intensities.
Theoretically though, I think the plants respond positively if a white light source supplemented with 660nm deep red light. Generally, you'll do best to avoid lower color temperatures, but I'm not sure plants benefit any more if the color temperature is above 4000K. It's true chlorophyll absorbs blue and red light most strongly, but that also means other color wavelengths can penetrate deeper into the leaf layer for more even and fuller photosynthetic conversion. I think adding a little bit of white is more efficient than using just all red+blue.

In terms of optimal efficiency, there are two photosynthetic peaks, one at 660nm and one at 620nm, so in terms of achieving optimal efficiency, you would want to target both (maybe in a 2:1 ratio or something like that). Generation of blue light from LEDs today is very efficient, but unfortunately blue light has the most limited leaf penetration, compared to other wavelengths, so that means it's only using some of the chlorophyl (and remember plants are also more prone to leaf burn or leaf bleaching from too much blue light).

The orange-red spectral line in a common fluorescent is very close to 620nm, if you did not know, and in any case I don't think 620nm is all that imperative if you're already supplementing with 660nm.

If it were up to me, I'd be very satisfied with a 4000K or 5000K light source supplemented with 660nm deep red LEDs, maybe in about 20-30% ratio.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Bergamot is a worth to try tree?
« on: November 27, 2017, 09:32:01 PM »
Like grapefruit it is high in furanocoumarins and naringin interacting with  metabolism of basic statins.
Bergamot is much higher in furanocoumarins than grapefruit.

According to this site, which discusses the safety of diluting citrus essential oils in carrier oil for application on skin, it's considered safe to use 24 drops of grapefruit oil in 30ml of carrier oil, for lemon it's 12 drops, for lime 4 drops, and for (cold-pressed) bergamot essential oil only 1 drop is safe.

The only citrus that has a higher furanocoumourin level than bergamot is C. micrantha (the ancestor of limes), with a level over 4 times higher, off the charts!

I'd plant bergamot as an ornamental. The fruits are extremely fragrant, and the blossoms from the tree are known as neroli and used in high end perfume.

You know the characteristic aroma of Earl Grey tea? That comes from a tiny bit of bergamot oil that's added to the tea leaves.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What tropicals would survive outdoors here?
« on: November 27, 2017, 09:16:54 PM »
Lychee has a chance of growing in 9b, if you plant a larger established tree (30+ inches in height). Younger seedlings are much more vulnerable to cold.
However, I'm not sure how the fruits will ripen though, if they'll be able to get enough summer heat.

Have you considered Myrica rubra? It looks like an Arbutus tree in appearance and fruit shape, but the fruit is like blackberry in color and taste. It's popular in parts of China and Southern Japan.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Yuzu... my new obsession!
« on: November 26, 2017, 12:47:35 AM »
I believe Hyuganatsu is probably a hybrid between Buntan (pomelo) and yuzu. However, there's no information about whether it demonstrates any unusual cold hardiness.

I planted a pomelo and yuzu right next to each other so hopefully in a few years I can try to see if any of the seeds turn out to be a hybrid.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Citrus seedlings, some odd observations.
« on: November 09, 2017, 07:56:43 PM »
I've found the best way to germinate citrus seeds is to use a three step process. First sprout them wrapped in a moist paper towel in a sealed plastic bag. This may take about 1-2 weeks. Then carefully plant the sprouts  in a seed germination tray with a covered lid to hold humidity. Then after 3 or 4 more weeks the seedling will be ready to move into a plastic cup. If you use a clear plastic one it will be easier to gage soil moisture levels. (At this stage it may be best to keep the cups inside a growing tent enclosure to hold heat and humidity)

If you leave the seedlings in the germination tray too long many of them will start to suffer root rot because the soil is continually too moist. But this contained humidity also helps guarantee they survive and thrive in the earliest stage of their life. Another reason you can't leave them there too long is because there is limited soil area for root growth. Moving the seeds three different times takes a lot of work, and each time it's done it has to be done carefully, but it's the method that gives the best results and has the highest survival rates.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Citrus in the Pacific Northwest
« on: November 03, 2017, 05:48:14 PM »
At the very end of October the temperature early morning outside was 44, 55 inside the greenhouse.
This morning, November 3, there was a surprise: the ground was covered in snow. It's very unusual for snow to fall this early in the year, usually any snowfall is preceded by two months of rain.

Here's a yuzu in the early fallen snow

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Upgraded cold frames for growing trees.
« on: October 26, 2017, 03:35:22 PM »
SoCal2warm, Im worried about it getting too hot in your cold frame.
Not really a worry. Where this is located it's completely overcast 80% of the time in the Winter. Without that direct sun the temperature gradient between inside and outside isn't that high, maybe 6 degrees at most. Ironically it's the chance sunny days we have to watch out for, because when the sky is completely clear that means there's no moisture and cloud cover to prevent the temperature from dropping at night. It dropped down to 19 to 15 degrees last Winter three different times, each of those nights followed a completely clear and sunny day.


Here's three of a very rare variety:

It's a seedling of what was believed to be a [CiTemple edible x Ichang papeda] x Minneola Tangelo
(CiTemple is a citrange with Temple orange that was considered to be especially edible)

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Arctic Frost / Orange Frost Satsuma?
« on: October 22, 2017, 09:23:49 PM »
A little bland (more so than a Satsuma from a young tree), often 1 or 2 seeds, but otherwise not bad. If we're talking flavor subtleties it probably takes a bit more after a tangerine than a Satsuma (which I don't think is particularly a good thing). Pretty much like a regular mandarin though maybe a little on the subpar side.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Thread for Citrus Breeders
« on: October 20, 2017, 09:03:15 PM »

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