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1
Some of you may be aware that Oroblanco and Melogold grapefruits are triploid, meaning they have 3 sets of chromosomes rather than the normal 2.
So a natural question that arises is what would happen if you tried to breed a triploid citrus with something else? What would you get.
Although Oroblanco is normally considered seedless, I found several fully formed large seeds inside one the fruits I just bought. I'm assuming all/most of these seeds are nucellar (clones of the parent) but it got me thinking.

I've been doing a lot of research, and wanted to present to you what I've found so far, in an attempt to answer the question. I'm no expert in this area.

Basically, when a triploid like Oroblanco pollinates another citrus variety (generally a monoembryonic variety) it induces the formation of seed. These seeds will be haploid, having only a single set of chromosomes from the female fruit parent. Most of the gametes produced from a triploid will have unevenly split chromosomes during meiosis, but a smaller portion will also be diploid and haploid. That means that pollen from a triploid parent could contribute either one or two sets of chromosomes. Assuming that the female parent is diploid, this will result in the seed either having 2 or 3 sets of chromosomes. So you could get a normal zygotic seedling, or you could get another triploid. The triploids will have a lower probability of having fully formed seeds, so the majority will not survive. (Embryo rescue techiques are usually employed to be able to grow these underdeveloped seeds, but in a small number of cases the seeds will be well formed enough to be able to germinate on their own)

It is also possible for a triploid parent to produce an unreduced gamete but this comparatively much more rare, so in that case the gamete would be able to contribute 3 sets of chromosomes.

Haploid citrus plants are normally feeble and slower growing, generally sterile, and right now I cannot find any references to a haploid citrus plant ever having produced fruit. But for breeding purposes, they can be reconstituted back to normal diploids by treating the growth on bud shoots with colchicine, and then later taking a graft from that offshoot.

This still leaves so many questions but it's a start to understanding.

Quote
Triploid plants can and do go through meiosis (cite). Of course, their fertility is lowered with most gametes being aneuploids (uneven number of chromosomes), however, triploid plants also produce small numbers of euploids (1x, 2x, 3x)(Fig 1 of the above cited source).

This should make you wonder why we don't often observe seeds in triploid fruit since they can make viable gametes (1x, 2x, 3x). This seems to be purely driven by the number of female gametes (ovules) produced vs. the number of male gametes (pollen grains) produced. Plants produce many more pollen grains than ovules making it much more likely that a euploid pollen grain will be produced. Contrasted by the small number of ovules produce making it very unlikely that a euploid ovule will be produced.

The fertility of triploid plants is the foundation for one of the most used mechanisms for polyploid formation called the triploid bridge. The triploid plant produces 1x, 2x, and 3x gametes that combine with the 1x gametes produced by a diploid plant to form 2x, 3x, and 4x offspring
 

I could well be wrong about most of the seeds in Oroblanco being nucellar. That would be interesting.

2
Take a look at this origins of citrus diagram from National Geographic:

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/02/explore-food-citrus-genetics/

And it doesn't even show all the original citrus varieties! I have quite a few varieties that have ancestry from citrus species not shown on that diagram (C. trifoliate, C. ichangensis, C. taiwanica, etc).

There's so much diversity in the citrus family, and the amazing thing is it's possible to hybridize them together.

3
Finally, a raspberry that can survive in Southern California


Bababerry raspberry is suspected to actually be a hybrid between regular raspberry and the wild California Smoothleaf raspberry. Normally raspberries don't grow too well in the hot dry climate of Southern California (although blackberries do just fine). It's in a spot that gets shaded in the afternoon.

Behind the raspberry you can see a 'Karp's Sweet' quince tree and a Mauritius lychee tree in the background.

4
Citrus General Discussion / just repotting some of my plants
« on: July 11, 2017, 08:14:36 PM »
Here you can see an Ichang lemon, Bloomsweet grapefruit, and two mangosteen plants in the back.


I can guarantee you those little mangosteen plants won't be sitting outside for long, it's pretty hot dry and sunny, and two days ago it got down to 54°F in the early morning.

5
Citrus General Discussion / Thread for Citrus Breeders
« on: June 27, 2017, 04:31:21 PM »
Is anyone here attempting to breed new varieties of citrus?
Share your breeding attempts or accomplishments here. Maybe we can exchange seeds.

6
Citrus General Discussion / breeding - what can I do with citron
« on: June 26, 2017, 11:53:55 PM »
Does anyone have any ideas on what I could do with Etrog citron in terms of breeding?
I have flying dragon poncirus trifoliate and some changsha mandarin seeds. I'm interested in breeding a cold hardy lemon—a true lemon in the sense that it will have citron in its ancestry.

maybe (citron x poncirus) x changsha ?


Common lemons, in case anyone didn't know, are hybrids between citron and sour orange (basically)

7
Here's a bit of information that will be very useful to anyone trying to breed new varieties of citrus and wants them to be seedless.

Crossing a tetraploid citrus with a regular diploid citrus will result in a triploid citrus. Triploids are generally sterile and seedless. This is a strategy that has been used in many cases to breed seedless citrus varieties (although there are other strategies).

It turns out that most regular citrus varieties—the ones that are polyembryonic producing clonally from seed—will convert to tetraploids at least once in a while. That is, if you grow 300 seeds, at least one of them will likely turn out to be tetraploid, even though it is otherwise a clone of its diploid parent. Tetraploids are often slightly bigger and slightly deeper in color than their corresponding diploid parent.

Some citrus varieties are more likely to convert to tetraploids than others. For example, out of 78 seeds grown from a Duncan grapefruit, 5 turned out to be tetraploids.
'Mapo' tangelo (7 out of 73) and 'Tardivo di Ciaculli' mandarin (2 out of 38) also had high rates of tetraploid seed. For Minneola Tangelo, 3 tetraploids were observed out of 166 seeds.
Something else notable, it appeared that plants producing fruit in colder conditions in marginal climatic areas had an increased likelihood of producing tetraploid seed.

Troyer citrange had very high rates of polyploidy, as high as 10-20 percent of the seedlings. (Carrizo was almost as high too)

Now, you most likely may not be able to know the chromosome count of any individual seedling, but if you grow enough of them, there should be some seedless plants two generations down the line. Assuming you try to prevent self-pollination. A much more convenient strategy is to rely on the blossoms of the tetraploid plants to pollinate other citrus varieties which are known not to be polyembryonic, usually mandarin but also pomelo.

If it's not polyembryonic, that means all the seeds that form inside the fruit are zygotic, formed by sexual recombination. If the variety also happens to be self-incompatible, it will require two different parents for fertilization, seed formation, and most likely fruit formation too. Unless the variety is parthenocarpic, meaning it will be capable of producing fruits without any fertilization, which many citrus varieties are. Yes, the terminology can get a little complicated and there are many aspects to breeding and growing different types of citrus varieties in orchards.

8
Cold Hardy Citrus / citrus varieties in order of cold-hardiness
« on: June 16, 2017, 04:32:14 PM »
This is a list of different citrus in order of how much cold they can handle:

kumquat > mandarin > orange > grapefruit > pomelo

I might write:

orange > lemon > lime

I don't want to put them with grapefruit because there are different grapefruit varieties spanning the range from being as cold-hardy as orange to being as cold-sensitive as lime. Although kieffer limes are about as cold-hardy as orange (probably since they are believed to have some papeda in their ancestry).

Minneola tangelos are probably somewhere between mandarin and orange. Clementines and tangerines span the range between mandarin and orange.

Not only are pomelos the most vulnerable to cold, they also need a lot of heat to ripen. Despite being a pomelo-grapefruit hybrid, Oroblanco is probably one of the cold-hardier grapefruits, being close to orange in cold-hardiness. (Due to its comparatively smaller fruit size and sweetness it is also as easy to ripen as common grapefruits)


Among the extremely cold-hardy citrus varieties:

trifoliate > Ichang papeda > Thomasville citrangequat > common trifoliate hybrids (citrange) > yuzu > taiwanica lemon

There is in general a trade-off between cold-hardiness and edibility.



9
I have a theory about the lineage origins of Ichang papeda, Yuzu, and Ichang lemon, which are all probably related.

I believe there was probably an original cold-hardy papeda species, similar in morphology to Ichang papeda, that has now been lost. This original cold-hardy papeda species naturally hybridized with sour mandarin and grew wild in the mountainous interior region of China. This resulting citrus is what the Japanese would later call Yuzu, after the fruit was brought to Japan during the Tang dynasty. Usually producing seed that were clones of the parent, there probably were several interbreeding events that mixed up the genes, making them more uniform and stable, so that Yuzu became like a species.

I believe that Yuzu (it might not be the same cultivar type we know today) may have hybridized again with its original ancestor papeda species resulting in the Ichang papeda.

I believe it likely that Ichang papeda crossed again with Yuzu resulting in the Ichang lemon. Or possibly a primitive Ichang lemon. This Ichang lemon was then identified by humans and selectively bred for bigger size and more pulp.

 I do not want to speculate too much but one thing I think might be possible, the original lemon could have been crossed with an orange, and then the new lemon, which closely resembled the original, was selected as the more desirable one and repeatedly propagated from seed (possibly until its genes became stable).

It is very unlikely a pomelo would have been available in this colder mountainous region of China, so if there are any pomelo genes in Ichang lemon they most likely would have had to come through some sort of orange or orange-mandarin (these type of Citrus unshiu × Citrus sinensis fruits were very common and China and Japan and could be more cold hardy than orange).

However, if Ichang papeda were crossed with yuzu, and then crossed with orange, one would presumably expect the color of the resulting Ichang lemon to be much more orange than it is. There are other hybridization possibilities of course, but I do not think any of them to be too likely. Maybe if the mandarin genes in the original lemon got suppressed from several sexual events (while it was growing in the wild) it could then have been enough papeda-like to later cross with another mandarin-dominant variety without taking on an orange coloration. Or the orange could have been backcrossed into the lemon over two generations. If the resulting Ichang lemon was superior to the previous, the old variety may have simply been discarded, no longer grown by the people living in that area.

Why do I believe this? There was a genetic study done in Japan that showed a very strong connection in Ichang papeda to having a yuzu ancestor (although the presumption was not conclusive).

So the lineage diagram, according to my theory, would basically look like this:

...........papeda ancestor    sour mandarin
.....................l_____________l
................................l
papeda ancestor......yuzu
..........l____________l
.....................l
...........Ichang papeda.......yuzu
.....................l___________l
...............................l
................primitive Ichang lemon
...............................l
......................Ichang lemon

10
I found a source selling an unusual citrus variety. They say it was from a seed from a fruit they got at a South Carolina citrus expo, and they were told the fruit was from a cross between Minneola tangelo (itself a Duncan grapefruit x mandarin hybrid) and Ichang papeda, which was then crossed again with a Tangor (a cross between tangerine and sweet orange).

They have no idea how cold-hardy this thing is, but think it should be hardy to zone 8 (presumably, based only on the fact it is an Ichang papeda hybrid).

I don't know if it was carefully bred from each cross (with only the best offspring selected from several seedlings) or whether they were just simple crosses, in which case one has no idea if the final offspring retained any of the original cold-hardy papeda genes. And then that the final plant was grown from a seed from this fruit? Really sounds like it could be luck of the draw with the genes, even if one could be certain it actually did come from Ichang papeda, two (or three) generations back.

Does anyone know anything about this variety or does it seem familiar to anything else you have ever read about?

Do you think it's worthwhile to buy it?
(Sorry, I'm going to have to keep the source secret for now because I want it to sell out to someone else)


11
These are two rare (and very expensive) Thai durian varieties.

ก้านยาว gâan yaao "long stem"
and
ชะนี chá-nee , main meaning "gibbon" but side meaning "prostitute"



http://christianpfc.blogspot.com/2016/12/durian-and-pomelo-varieties.html

And while we're on the topic, take a look at these Vietnamese "milk melons" (actually gourds)



http://karenmystory.blogspot.com/2015/05/all-picture-of-asian-fruit-that-look.html



12
Has anyone here ever been successful sprouting citrus seeds that they ordered through the mail?

Am I just being stupid? Are there any chances these things can germinate? I see loads of citrus seeds being sold in online market places. Are the sellers and buyers just ignorant, or do most people actually get their seeds to sprout??

I read somewhere citrus seeds may not be viable unless you get them directly from the fruit.

13
Citrus General Discussion / whole new subcategories of citrus
« on: June 12, 2017, 10:01:11 PM »
Like a color palette, from just a handful of original citrus species has resulted all sorts of new families, each with their own unique character.

Repeatedly backcrossing a pomelo with mandarin resulted in the common Orange. And the flavor is not quite the same as either of its original ancestors. All that selective inbreeding eliminated nuances in flavor and resulted in high levels of Valencene.
Cross an Orange again with a tangerine (mandarin) and you get a Tangor.

When a Pomelo that had been brought to Jamaica inadvertently hybridized with Orange and the resulting offspring, which had small sour fruits that grew in clusters like grapes, began spreading in the wild, that was the start of the lineage that today is known as grapefruit. And grapefruit, while similar to pomelo in many respects, also has its own unique flavor differences. It developed very high levels of the pungent sweet compound thioterpineol, the most characteristic component of grapefruit aroma.

Cross a grapefruit with a mandarin and you get a Tangelo (which really does taste like a cross between mandarin and pomelo).
Cross a tangelo with a pomelo again and you get a Tangelolo.
These are all just varying combinations on a spectrum between mandarin and pomelo, yet each family is unique and has its own taste.
Cocktail Grapefruit was a hybrid between grapefruit and mandarin, but is still considered a grapefruit.
And what if you cross a grapefruit with a pomelo? Oro Blanco is conveniently easy to categorize as a grapefruit because its pomelo parent happened to be Siamese Sweet, which did not have much flavor of its own to contribute. So Oro Blanco mostly takes on the grapefruit flavor of its Duncan parent.

There are so many potential combinations. What other new families could be possible?

14
Cold Hardy Citrus / breeding cold hardy pomelo
« on: June 12, 2017, 08:26:46 PM »
I'm going to embark on an attempt to breed a cold-hardy pomelo that can grow in zone 8 and that is eating quality (or very close to it).

.......................Red............................................Red
...yuzu........Thai pomelo.....Ichang Lemon.........Thai pomelo.......Bloomsweet
.....l__________l_____________l_______________l....................(Kinkoji)
.............l.....................l........................l........................................l
.............l____________l........................l_______________________l
.......................l........................................................l
.......................l________________________________l
...............................................l
..................................."Fragrant Wind" pomelo


The breeding will take 3 generations. The goal of zone 8 would mean it would have substantially more cold-hardiness than most cold-hardy citrus varieties, but not as much as the extremely cold-hardy citrus species (Poncirus and its hybrids). Basically this pomelo should be about as hardy as kumquat.

For the sake of reducing time, the next generation of seeds will have to be grown before the traits of its parents can be fully examined. This will entail growing a very large number of seedlings.

All the origin varieties have a very high degree of edibility, considering the level of their cold tolerance. Hopefully this results in a highly optimal ratio of edibility to cold-hardiness.







15
Anyone here from Malaysia who can buy Manggis Masta (Master Mangosteen) and send me seeds?
Willing to pay

16
Citrus General Discussion / Any hybrids between Lemon and Grapefruit?
« on: June 07, 2017, 01:59:55 PM »
Is anyone here aware of any hybrids between lemon and grapefruit ?
Or citron and pomelo (or any other of these type of combination) ? I thought I would ask the citrus experts here.

I know that orange has a little bit of pomelo in its genome, and lemons are descended from sour orange and citron, so technically a lemon is sort of like a cross between these two (citron and pomelo), but that's not really what I mean, since the pomelo heredity is so low, and it has more C. reticula (mandarin) heritage mixed in than the other two.

You see citron/lemon hybrids and grapefruit/pomelo hybrids all the time, but they are most often mixed with mandarin. Citron-lemon hybrids exist (Ponderosa lemon) and Grapefruit-pomelo hybrids exist (Oroblanco) but I've never read of a Grapefruit-lemon hybrid.

It seems these two groups are too far on the fringe for anyone to have considered combining them together. Oranges (and to a lesser extent mandarins which are not so dissimilar) are the mainstay of citrus and everything else is an outlier. There are lemons and then there are grapefruits, but no one really thinks about combining these two families together.

Would such a fruit have any desirable attributes, do you think?

17
Buah Mesta (Garcinia mangoestana) is a special cultivar of mangosteen that is believed to originate from Temerloh, Pahang, in peninsular Malaysia. It is now being propagated commercially by a few growers. Buah Mesta has some differences from standard mangosteen (Manggis) in terms of several morphological characteristics.



According to commercial mesta entrepreneur Mr. Shuabib from Kg Paya Pasir, Maran, Pahang, mesta trees are usually slightly smaller and lower than regular mangosteen trees. Generally there are a greater number of branches on the tree. Mesta fruit are a little bit more oval shaped with a pointy tapering end under them; not a stocky round shape like regular mangosteen.

When looking inside the fruits, it is almost uniformly commented that mesta has nothing like the large seeds found in regular mangosteen. Typically it has 6 cloves of fresh white substance with a very sweet taste. Most special about this fruit is it only has a little resin which can stain your hands or clothes, even from freshly picked fruit. (The resin from a mangosteen fruit is yellow)

Mesta is harvested from the orchards in Maran when the season arrives, and fetches a slightly higher price, despite the season usually being the same as the harvest for ordinary mangosteen. Mesta fruit in 2016 began to ripen in July and were sold at a farm price of around RM 8.00 per kg compared with regular mangosteen at around Rm 4.00 - 5.00 per kg. Mesta fruit is highly favored by those who have purchased it.

Mesta in terms of form generally resembles the overall form of standard mangosteen. If one is less familiar with the particular differences of Mesta, they need to look carefully at the shape of the fruit first. Mesta fruit is more oval-shaped, with a nose at the bottom, and have stacks of white filling inside which are uniform in size and with less seeds. In contrast, standard mangosteen fruit has a mainly flat round shape underneath, and there tend to be large white segments, which contain seeds, next to smaller more flattened segments. The edible segments of flesh inside Mesta are uniform in size.




("bentuk" just means shape)



During the growing season Mesta trees are very uniform and dense in fruit, until a few branches break. This is one of the features of a Mesta tree, at 4 years old there will be a lot of fruit that causes broken branches. Regular mangosteen trees have less cases of branch breakage.

Another feature of Mesta can be found at the bottom of the fruit. There are 6 (sometimes 7) petals on the button, whereas regular mangosteen has 5.



Mesta also has a bit larger brownish-green petals on the top where the stalk comes out, between 1-2cm depending on the size of the fruit.



For those who want to eat the Mesta variety of mangosteen, you can visit Maran, Temerloh, Raub, Lipis, or Jeranut, because the area is reported to have mesta tree planting. The trees in this area can bear fruit after 4 years of growth by merging seedlings, grafting them together into a single tree trunk.

translated from Malay
original article written by M. Anem, senior agronomist at Bukit Goh Agricultural Center, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia

original source: http://animhosnan.blogspot.com/2016/08/mesta-buah-berharga.html?m=1

18
Tropical Fruit Discussion / mangosteen seedlings just arrived
« on: June 03, 2017, 10:08:52 PM »



mangosteen seedlings just arrived. so excited!




19
Citrus General Discussion / Yuzu vinegar hot sauce at Trader Joes
« on: May 30, 2017, 01:42:24 AM »
Just wanted to let you all know, they have Yuzu hot sauce at Trader Joe's. Yummy.
Tastes high quality and good on egg rolls.

For those of you who may never have had the opportunity to taste Yuzu before.
It's kind of has a unique flavor, definitely citrusy but in a way that's not quite like any other citrus.

There are some citrus that are better used in cooking and flavoring than eating out of hand. Yuzu is great for adding flavor to alcohols or vinegar.

The flavor, there's something about it that reminds me of bergamot, but also something reminiscent of pomelo. Maybe a tiny bit of grapefruit. And tangerine peel. It's not unlike bitter orange, very fragrant.

For those extreme citrus enthusiasts out there, I definitely recommend.

http://www.whatsgoodattraderjoes.com/2017/01/trader-joes-yuzu-hot-sauce.html

20
Something kind of strange (and kind of irrelevant) I seemed to notice.
Oro Blanco grapefruit blossoms seem to almost always have just four petals. But different pomelo varieties I have seen, their blossoms almost always have 5 petals, and it's the same story with every other citrus variety I have seen (including grapefruit of course).
I could be wrong, but is there something special about Oro Blanco? What could be the cause of this strange phenomena and does it have any practical significance?


I also found on Fruitipedia a picture that shows a couple of Ugli Fruit blossoms, all with only 4 petals.

21
Cold Hardy Citrus / Ten degree Tangerine
« on: May 24, 2017, 05:50:28 PM »
The "Ten Degree Tangerine" is a hybrid between Clementine and Yuzu. It was thought to refer to the cultivar Clem-Yuz 3-3, but there is some confusion and it may also refer to Clem-Yuz 2-2.
 
Hardy to 10°F (-12°C), to perhaps all the way down to 5°F (-15°C)

Ten-Degree Tangerine may refer to either Clem-Yuz 2-2 or Clem-Yuz 3-3. Clem-Yuz 2-2 is a much earlier ripening fruit and is said to be better tasting by one grower. Clem-Yuz 3-3 can have a kerosene aftertaste. However the originator of this cultivar Dr. John R. Brown of Franklin, Texas, preferred 3-3.

"This plant, otherwise know as Clem-Yuz 3-3 is one of a number of Clementine X Yuzu hybrids produced by Dr. Brown during the late 1960s... semi-deciduous... blooming and fruiting after 80 to 130 hours of continuous subfreezing weather with minimum temperatures of 10 F or lower... Fruit ripens relatively late, in mid-December, in Texas, when it attains quality better than that of supermarket tangerines...the fruit matures into a sprightly flavored tangerine" p. 30

“The rind is orange and smooth...If self pollinated the fruit is nearly seedless.  But otherwise has 8-20 large, plump seeds per fruit, seeds appear to be a mix of monoembryonic and polyembryonic types...unripe fruit has an excellent lime-like flavor... [fruit] will keep for several months under refrigeration.” Fruit Gardener, Ichang Papeda Hybrids, p. 48 

At the Stan Mckenzie orchard in SC in March 2014, Ten-Degree Tangerine looked much better than Owari.  Trees still had their leaves, while Owari was mostly defoliated with stem die back.



Fruit on 3-3.  Small and immature.  Skin color half turned from green to yellow. Interior color pale yellow.  Flavor very good, tastes as good as some store bought, brix 9.5. Fruit was cross-pollinated. 12 seeds.



Fruit on 2-2. Very loose skin.

The fruit is large tangerine size, juice is sweetish with a mild tangerine flavor that has a trace of kerosene; but there is no gum or bitterness. Each segment has 1-2 seeds which are moderately large. Although the peel is corky, it is edible because it lacks the intense acrid bitterness seen in most citrus. Fruit is borne at branch tips near the outside of the tree, and is ripe by mid-October.

At best, fruit is a pale, juicy, seedy, low-flavored mandarin, but in many years it is dry and juiceless. Tree is productive, withstands 5 - 10 degrees F.  

An experienced hobbiest believes this is an excellent flavored fruit, and the early ripening period is an added benefit. Personal observation, pleasant tasting.


source: http://hardycitrus.blogspot.com/

22
Tropical Fruit Discussion / 2 lychee trees in Southern California
« on: May 19, 2017, 03:06:37 PM »



pictures of 2 lychee trees, south of LA, a Mauritius and the little one is a Sweetheart

They don't seem to mind full sun, and only took a lot of water the first year when their root systems were becoming established. I'd say they only require a medium level of water now, and can go for a week without being watered (maybe not in the summer though).

Little lychee seedlings have much more demanding needs though, soil needs to be kept constantly moist, and too much sun will dry them out, while they will not grow with too little sun, very hard to grow a lychee from seed into a tree in this climate (though the seeds do sprout easily).




The lychee trees appear to be very slow growing, so patience will be needed. There are already some tiny little bloom pannicles on the bigger tree.

23
Cold Hardy Citrus / Citrus in the Pacific Northwest
« on: May 11, 2017, 11:53:01 PM »
Temperatures & Climate of PNW Cities

The city of Olympia, WA happens to be farther north than Duluth, Minnesota. Heck, it happens to be farther north in latitude than Quebec City in Canada. (Don't believe me? Pull out a map)
And yet it is possible to grow some limited varieties of citrus here, and I'm not talking about those yucky borderline hybrids of Trifoliate Orange.

Firstly, temperatures. Olympia is in climate zone 8a. Winter nighttime lows tend to be 27F at the lowest. Looking back at temperature records, there were two separate 3-day stretches where the nighttime lows dipped down to 19F. These nighttime lows were all preceded by sunny days where there wasn't the cloud cover and marine influence that helps moderate the temperatures. So ironically, if you see an anomalous sunny day during the coldest part of winter, watch out! That's probably when the plants are going to need protection that night.

Ironically as you head just an hour or two north you move into climate zone 8b. This is because Tacoma and Seattle sit right against the sound and all that water helps moderate the winter low temperatures. In Olympia, by contrast, a lot of the marine air from the coast has to move over 50 miles of land, and by that time has had a chance to cool down a few degrees. That's not to say Olympia doesn't get any influence from the sound, but the city sits at the very end of the sound, where it's narrower, and ends up not getting as much influence from it. So Olympia may get just a week of light snow in the winter whereas Tacoma may get nothing. Probably the spot with the most moderate winter temperatures is Point Defiance, which juts out into the sound. Not surprisingly there's a plant nursery named Jungle Fever exotics located here.

The overall climate in Olympia and Seattle is not that different, but there are some differences. Olympia tends to have slightly hotter summers. Olympia also has slightly less sunny days per year, though the difference is very slight. Olympia gets a little more rainfall, since Seattle is subject to some extent to the rain shadow effect from the Olympic mountains. Seattle does have slightly higher winter lows than Olympia, both because of its location and because of the extensive urban development in the region. As we move further north into Vancouver, Canada, the winter nighttime lows are yet higher still than Seattle. This is because Vancouver sits right on the water and gets more direct access to the marine influence from the Pacific Ocean (through the Strait of Juan de Fuca). Temperatures are overall about 2 degrees cooler in Vancouver than Seattle, it's just that the lows points tend not to be as low. Victoria, on Vancouver Island, is practically subtropical. Well, as close as subtropical gets in Canada. There's someone with a farm out there growing Meyer lemons! While it is really on the borderline of the temperature citrus can survive in, the huge amount of marine influence probably means there are not devastating cold spells that come along every so many years. This is the case in Olympia, which may occasionally have a winter colder than other years. You can grow regular varieties of pomegranates, but every 8 years or so there will be a devastating freeze that will freeze kill them all to the ground. (Slightly more cold-hardy varieties can survive though)

When you go south to Portland, the trend continues. Portland is warmer, but it's also further inland. This can sometimes mean freak hail storms some years. Overall, Portland probably has just a tiny bit colder lows than Olympia during the winter, but also warmer highs. Certainly it's warmer during the height of summer, where sometimes it can get uncomfortably hot for 2 to 4 weeks. It's worth pointing out here that Portland appears to be the northernmost extent of where roses seem to grow very well (hotter, dryer summers and the longer growing season).

It's fair to say that the temperatures are not a huge degree different from Portland to Vancouver (Canada) but there are some small but significant differences. More like an overall trend as you head north over this regional stretch. It's not a coincidence these major cities are located where they are. Usually going higher in latitude would make things colder, but in this case the major cities have progressively more marine influence as one goes north along this stretch, which helps counteract the difference in latitude.

In case you're wondering why the Northwest experiences much milder winters than the Northeast, it's because winds bring warmer ocean air inland. When it rains, that also helps prevent the temperature from going too low, because water vapor releases latent energy of heat as it condenses. The West coast tends to get most of its precipitation during the winter.

So the Pacific Northwest has mild winters. But it also has a short growing season. The winter lows might not be too bad but those temperatures don't start getting up to where citrus needs for growing until around May. And as much rainfall as the Pacific Northwest gets, the trees are probably still going to need some watering during the dry summers.

Citrus Varieties that can be Grown

Yuzu can definitely grow outside in the PNW. Bloomsweet grapefruit can be reliably grown with just a little bit of minimal protection during the winter, starting in late December. (Make sure the plant is grown indoors during the winter under a grow light, some place warm, and where the indoor humidity won't drop too low, for the first two years to give the plant a chance to get some time to become established, because young small plants usually are not able to survive cold very well, not until they get to 2 or 3 feet high)
Satsuma mandarins have been grown in Olympia, though they don't tend to produce very well without some minimal amount of covering.
Ichang mandarins or Citrus taiwanica (Taiwanica lemon) should be no problem.

Some Overall Thoughts about the Historical World Movement of Citrus

It is ironic, from one standpoint. There are actually so many plants from Japan that are commonly planted in the PNW now. There's a fair amount of influence from Asia (particularly Northeast Asia) in the PNW region, which has come across from the other side of the Ocean. But cold-hardy citrus has not been one of this influences. Even in Southern California, virtually all of the citrus varieties came from Florida or, in a few number of instances, Texas.

The reason citrus has traditionally been viewed as a climate zone 10 fruit (or zone 9 at best) no doubt has to do with history and geography. While Asia was the heart of citrus growing, the traditional varieties that we are most familiar with were brought to Mediterranean Europe via the Muslims from India. Oranges were already growing in Spain before Marco Polo's journey to China, so since Europe already had oranges and lemons of their own, the citrus varieties in Asia were not seen as such a novelty. With the exception of pomelo which could never be grown in Europe. That would later get bred into grapefruit though, which could be grown in Florida and parts of Texas. America was settled from East to West, originally by peoples who came mostly from Western Europe, so this had a profound effect on the varieties of plants under cultivation. The particular varieties might not have been the most suitable to the lands being settled, but that's what they had, that's what they were familiar with. This in large part explains why the Mid-Atlantic Northeast was the first region to be primarily settled, because the climate was so similar to that of England and many of the same crops were suitable to grow there. It also explains why the Spanish were more successful at settling lands with warmer dryer climates more similar to their own (like in Mexico, Texas, and Southern California). Pomegranate and quince were traditionally viewed as warmer Mediterranean fruits. It was not until just two or three decades ago that new varieties of these fruits were brought to America from Southern Russia that were more cold tolerant and disease resistant in wetter climates. Although the Northwestern part of Europe has a cooler wetter climate, they were only familiar with the lineage of pomegranate and quince that had reached them from the Mediterranean, and this carried over into America as well. It's the same story with citrus, the citrus known in Europe were only those varieties that had originally been taken from China to India and cultivated in India (approximately climate zone 10).

Meanwhile, there were cold-hardier citrus being cultivated in remote parts of interior China, and in Japan cold-hardier citrus varieties were being bred (primarily from Yuzu that had been taken from China).

Oranges were probably quicker to culturally disseminate over long distances, gradually making their way to Europe, than mandarins were (despite mandarins being the more cold-hardy of the two) because oranges have a thicker rind and longer shelf life, so the fruit could survive a longer journey, to be tasted by someone else from another culture. Of course the citron was known in the Middle East since ancient times. Just had to add some historical perspective in this post.

On the subject of Bloomsweet and its origins from Japan, please see my post in this thread: "Bloomsweet"
http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=22785.0 (it happens not to be posted in the Cold Hardy Citrus section which is why I'm giving you this link)

Thoughts on why the idea of trying to grow Citrus in the PNW never became popular

Well anyway, back on topic. While there has now been plenty of experimentation in Northern Florida, Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina growing citrus varieties outdoors, there is virtually no one in the Pacific Northwest growing citrus outdoors, despite the PNW being in the same official climate zone range.

And despite the PNW actually being much closer to the region of the world where all these cold-hardy citrus varieties came from (Japan and China). That's what I find so ironic.
Perhaps it's because all these areas (FL, TX, GA, SC) are so close to the citrus growing region in Florida. Whereas the PNW is so far away from Southern California, and in any case most of the citrus growing around the coast of California has since been destroyed due to the high land costs due to high population growth in that region. The commercial citrus growing in California has been pushed far inland, but then it can only go so far north before the winter lows get too cold.

So someone in South Carolina has commercial citrus groves growing a few hundred miles South of them, whereas someone in the far northern part of California has the San Francisco Bay area to the South of them. And then there are the coastal mountains in the northern part of the state, which means that the citrus growing would have to be very close to the coast, but then there is also all that coastal fog and clouds. It doesn't have those high temperatures and sunny weather citrus plants like. So I suppose the economics and geography on the West Coast are not as continuous as on the East Coast. On the East Coast it's merely a matter of temperature as you begin heading north from the Florida citrus belt. The region is much more flat, and surrounding land costs lower in the area we are talking about. What I mean is that, when you stop and think about it the reasons become pretty plain as to why there has been such little attempt at trying to start taking citrus northward on the West Coast; it's not such a natural progression or obvious inclination.

So maybe to summarize this post, there are reasons for everything, if we really want to examine them, but sometimes those reasons are kind of complicated.
I have so many thoughts here, hard to stay on one topic.

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Are sweet cherries in the same species as flowering cherries? I have actually done some research into this, and it turns out the answer is very complicated, it's not an easy yes or no question, for a variety of reasons. As it turns out, it IS possible to crossbreed sweet cherries with flowering cherries, and importantly the second generation offspring will be fertile (that's not the case when sweet cherries are crossed with sour cherries). The reason generally has to do with chromosome count. Sweet cherries have 16 chromosomes. Wild Japanese flowering cherry trees also have 16 chromosomes. However, there are many ornamental cultivars which resulted from hybridization, which have 24 chromosomes. Black cherries and sour cherries, on the other hand, have 32 chromosomes. If you crossbreed sweet cherries with sour cherries, the resulting hybrid tree will have 24 chromosomes, and will still be able to produce fruit, but the seeds will be sterile (like breeding a horse and donkey together resulting in a mule, there will be no third generation).

The popular pink flowering cherry variety 'kanzan' resulted from hybridization many hundreds of years ago and is sterile, it will not produce any fruit. One of the indicators that this variety resulted from hybridization is the fact that the blossoms are double-flowered (2 rows of petals). This is common in other species as well (such as the yellow cotton tree, for example), double-flowered blossoms often mean the plant is sterile and cannot produce seeds. Particular cultivars of cherry are propagated by cuttings, so the fact that they cannot produce seed does not matter.

By far the most common ornamental cherry variety is Yoshino. I was watching a documentary and there was an elderly Japanese expert who lamented that Yoshino is not really a natural variety. Wild cherry blossom trees in Japan do produce tiny drupelet fruits. They are not very edible (the birds like eating them though). But the Yoshino cultivar is a terrible pollinator, it does not even attract bees. Those little fruits often cannot even form when there is inadequate pollination.

For anyone who may be interested, I came across a published reference to Prunus campanulata being crossbred with sweet cherries. Here is the excerpt:

"Since there is no low-chill germplasm avaialable for sweet cherry, the only other alternative is to go to another species of cherry for this trait. Several species have been used in crosses with sweet cherry with occasional success with Prunus pleiocerasus and Prunus campanulata. In 1957, W.E. Lammerts made a cross between P. pleiocerasus and P. avium 'Black Tartarian'. This hybrid is very low-chilling (<200 CU ) but not self fruitful. The hybrid was repeatedly crossed with sweet cherry and P. campanulata. In the mid 1970s, the Florida program developed several seedlings by using mixed pollen (P. campanulata and 'Stella'). All the hybrids had pink blooms and thus were probably hybrids with P. campanulata. Several of these seedlings were fruitful. Although the size is still small, this germplasm is useful for the development of low-chill sweet cherries."

Temperate Fruit Crops in Warm Climates, edited by Amnon Erez, p216

Prunus campanulata is the Formosan cherry, called kanhizakura in Japanese. It is distinct from the other cherries with its deep magenta colored blossoms.  Several hybrids of kanhizakura with other Japanese flowering cherries exist: kanzakura, okame, and youkouzakura being the three most prominent. The Formasan cherry is remarkable for being the only flowering cherry not originally native to Japan, and its ability to thrive in the Southernmost part of Japan where there is very little chill.

There are nine different varieties of cherry that grow in the wild in Japan, from which all other cultivated flowering cherry varieties originate:

Yamazakura (Prunus jamasakura)

Oyamazakura (Prunus sargentii)

Kasumisakura (Prunus verecunda)

Oshimazakura (Prunus speciosa)

Edohigan (Prunus Ascendens spachiana)

Mamesakura (Prunus incise)

Choujizakura (Prunus apetala)

Minezakura (Prunus nipponica)

Miyamazakura (Prunus maximowiczii)


Some of you may be wondering about grafting. Can you graft Japanese flowering cherry onto Sweet cherry (Prunus Avium) ?
The answer is yes you can. In fact flowering cherry is commonly grafted onto P. avium rootstock by many nurseries to dwarf it. My personal opinion is this is probably not the best for the tree in the long term, it will cut the tree's lifespan short. Both sweet cherry and flowering cherry can eventually grow to become quite big if grown on their own roots (not grafted), the size of an oak tree. It is also possible to graft sweet cherry onto sour cherry, but they are generally not considered graft compatible (have poor compatibility). A big part of this may have to do with differing growth rates, since sweet cherry grows much faster than sour cherry. If the rootstock side of a graft union outgrows the scion, the scion will wither and eventually die. Graft incompatibility can take 2 or 3 years to show up. A scion with very poor compatibility will be unhealthy and severely dwarfed.

25
Recipes / Wholesome Cherry Snow Cone
« on: November 04, 2016, 04:14:06 PM »
Recipe for the best healthy wholesome snow cone:

snow (or shaved ice), 3 parts tart cherry juice, 2 parts freshly juiced sugar cane

The sugar cane juice is not just sugar water, and it's not as sweet as one might think, it's actually fairly healthy and full of nutrients.

Sugar cane can be grown in your own yard as far north as Sacramento. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9nvTPKT5VU

You can also add a cherry on top for decoration (of the regular sweet cherry variety). Just make a cut in the side, enough to be able to open it up a little bit and remove the seed. Then close back up, you will hardly be able to notice the cherry has been cut into (except the stem will most likely come out with the seed).

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