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Topics - SoCal2warm

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76
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.

77
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.

78
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).

79
Temperate Fruit Discussion / hybrids between quince, pear, and apple
« on: October 24, 2016, 06:11:33 PM »
Hybrid between Quince and Pear

In 1855 the nurseryman Louis Boisbunel in the Rouen region of France was successfully able to crossbred quince with pear. The resulting pear variety was named Passé Crassane, and was later used to breed many other fine tasting pear varieties. I actually have a Passé Crassane tree, by the way.

"...the passé-crassane, is actually a pear-quince hybrid that was developed in Normandy. It is particularly useful in cooking because of its firm, grainy flesh, but it is also tasty eaten raw."

The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth about What You Should Eat and Why, by Jonny Bowden, p144

While I haven't actually got any fruit yet from my tree, from the pictures I've seen it certainly looks like it might be a hybrid from the shape and slightly more yellowish color (though there are plenty of pear varieties which are yellow).

Here is a picture of a Passe Crassane: http://www.arboreumco.com/store/products/passe-crassane

They can develop a much more yellow color if allowed to ripen further on the tree: http://www.mouneyracfreres.com/en/img/produits/cat_p1_passecrassane_img.png

I found a random mention in a wine blog that stated "It smells like quinces and pears, especially the Passe-Crassane pear..." so I am assuming this implies that the Passe Crassane at least has a note of quince in its aroma.

I found this in another blog: "Finally, we get to the Passe Crassane – my all time favourite pear which comes into season in December – they are exquisite in mulled wine. They come from the Rouen region and retain the most juice and best flavour of all pears. Again location is key and, for me, these pears are always better from the Paris area than from the Alps. These pears ripen over time and the stems are sealed with a blob of wax so that they will continue to ripen and won’t dry out. It’s this that helps to keep the flavour and juiciness of the Passe Crassane pear all winter." http://www.wellocks.co.uk/flavours-of-deme-of-the-year/

I have also done some research into grafting compatibilities, and Passe Crassane happens to be one of the few pear varieties that is considered compatible on quince rootstock, so that at least is consistent with it supposedly being a hybrid.

I have more to say on the variety Passe Crassane (and other pears that are descended from it) but I will elaborate further in a separate post.

Another documented pear-quince hybrid is "Pyronia veitchii", which can be mail ordered from some nurseries. There are even different established cultivars of this intergeneric species, like 'Luxemburgiana'. There's plenty of pictures on the internet.

Pyronia veitchii resulted from a cross between the pear 'Bergamotte Esperen' (seed-parent) and the Portugal quince (pollinator).
The cross was made in 1895 by hybridiser John Seden, who was employed by the Veitch family who ran the famous nursery in England that bears their name.

The famed plant breeder Luther Burbank had made an attempt at crossbreeding quince with pear, but most of the seedlings had stunted growth, and after grafting some cuttings onto an apple tree for a few years he was unable to obtain any fruit. (Luther Burbank: Methods and Discoveries 4: 138-140, (1914))

I found another old reference that describes a quince-pear hybrid that produced seedless fruit:

“The form of the fruit is unusual and characteristic, cylindrical, slightly longer than broad, with a short peduncle arising from a shallow cavity, the eye situated in a deep basin, open, the calyx lobes persistent. The skin is thick, rough, green or yellowish-green, abundantly covered with red dots like that of a pear. The flesh is white, granular, firm, juicy, sweet, slightly acidulous with an agreeable quince-like perfume. The season of ripening is October and November. The fruits which I have eaten were picked before they were fully ripe; the flesh was pleasantly flavored but firm as in a half-ripe pear. When cooked, the fruits seemed to be intermediate in character between a pear and a quince.

In 1915 an attempt was made to pollinate flowers of [this quince-pear hybrid] with pollen from various pears, but no fruits were obtained. I did not attempt to pollinate with quince pollen, though that might offer a better chance of success.

The character of the ovules, six in each locule, arranged in two series of three, one superposed upon the other, seems to bring [this hybrid] nearer to Cydonia (quince) than to Pyrus (pear).”

The Journal of Heredity (1916), Pyronia, article by Dr. L. Trabut, Botanist of the Government of Algeria


Hybrid between Quince and Apple



This picture was taken from a Czech site, from a breeding research program, with the title "Cydomalus" and caption "Malus domestica x Cydonia oblonga ".

"Slightly more than 50% of the F2 seedlings were found to be allotriploids (3x = 2n = 51), the rest were found to be tetraploids (4x = 2n = 68). Most of the allotriploids resembled quince morphologically. All these plants formed only single-flowered inflorescences and set mostly seedless quince-type fruits. About 15% of the allotriploids displayed apple-like characters and had seedless fruit with intermediate taste. Inflorescences of this group had up to five flowers, but the majority had two to three flowers. All allotriploids produced slightly viable pollen. Allotetraploid (4x = 2n = 68) hybrids position is intermediate between the diploids and triploids. It mainly consists of large pollen grains of probably diploid (2x = 34) genotype. The other part of pollen is smaller in size, maybe haploid (x = 17), but very small sterile grains also occurred. Germination percentage […] was close to 50%. Fruits were flat-rounded, yellow with dense pulp, containing normally developed seeds (up to 25), most which germinated well. "

The paper went on to say that for the F3 generation has been grown on its own roots but after 10 years of age they had not produced fruits. Not surprising, since genetic incompatibilities can often not show up until the third generation.

The paper gives a description of an apple-like triploid hybrid: “Fruits ripen at the end of June to July. The fruit weight varies from 120 to 320 g. Skin colour is yellow, sometimes a little pink on the sunny side. Flesh is yellowish, juicy, sour-sweet”

"Genotypic variation in apple × quince progenies", I.S. Rudenko and I.I. Rudenko. Progress in Temperate Fruit Breeding, Volume 1 of the series Developments in Plant Breeding, pp 229-233


Hybrid between Apple and Pear

In the 1980’s Max Zwintzscher was the first to report obtaining a fertile F2 plant from an F1 hybrid between Malus domestica and Pyrus communis. This was seen as a big breakthrough.



80
Is anyone here growing 'Karp's Sweet' Quince? (It's supposedly the best variety for eating raw, but only when grown in warm climates like Southern California)

I have a tree but it has not produced fruits yet. And I haven't heard any updates from anyone else about this variety for several years.
Anyone growing it and can comment on the fruit?


By the way, if you're in a more northern climate, the best varieties are probably Krimskaya and Aromatnaya, the latter of which is a bit softer but not as good flavor.

Quince has an amazing aroma, for those of you who may not know, and the flavor of the raw fruit is unique. Of course, quince is usually dense, spongy, and most often too astringent to eat raw. It's important to point out though that some varieties are better than others in this regard, and the level of ripeness which the fruit attains can make a big difference. Trying to eat raw quince is not for everyone, but supposedly the variety Karp's Sweet could change all that. In Latin American countries quince is typically sliced very thin and served with a chili vinegar sauce with crushed peanuts. I also think the quinces grown in Latin American countries tend to be less astringent than the traditional normal American varieties, but that could just be the warmer climate. It's hard to know since quince in Latin America are very often heirloom varieties grown from seed.

81
Tropical Fruit Discussion / different Mangosteen variety called 'mesta'
« on: October 07, 2016, 04:14:54 AM »
" Forty-nine Garcinia  species have been recorded in Malaysia (Whitemore 1973), and 30 of these species have edible fruit, of which G. mangostana  is the most important one producing round fruit with slightly flat distal ends and naturally seeded, referred commonly as "manggis". The other less common type of mangosteen, known as "Mesta", produces obovoid fruit with slightly pointed distal ends (found in Pahang and Sabah, Malaysia) have very thick mesocarp and are mostly seedless or have undeveloped seed. "

http://www.itfnet.org/contents/fruit/fruitInfo/html/trdLevel1511.html




The "mesta" variety is extremely close in appearance to the regular "manggis" mangosteen variety, at first glance a bit hard to differentiate.



also from the same previous article:

" Technically, the so-called "seeds" are not true seeds they are adventitious embryos, or hypocotyl tubercles, in as much as there has been no sexual fertilization. Because the seed does not arise from fertilization, genetic variation was thought to be almost non-existent. Since the seed arises from the cell wall of the female flower and is effectively a clone of the mother tree, the seedling has her genes intact and unchanged for generation after generation. Several experiments have been conducted taking advantage of the most current DNA and RNA analysis techniques and it turns out that there is significant variation globally amongst the different populations of the mangosteen. There is a large proportion that has essentially the same genetic make-up (genotype) but there are significant numbers that do not. "

So slightly different varieties of Mangosteen (G. mangostana ) are known to exist.

" Here’s more info on the Mangosteen we eat which is Garcinia mangostana – referred to as the Queen of Fruits. It is thought that mangosteens we eat originate from a natural hybridisation of two species Garcinia malaccensis and G. hombrioniana. It is quite surprising that the mangosteen reproduces from seeds which are not fertilised (a phenomenon called apomixis). This means that the mangosteens we eat are genetic clones of the first natural hybrids. But there are variations that occur in the mangosteen so it is plausible that the mangosteen arose from different hybridisations and not from one. One such cultivar is given the cultivar name ‘Mesta’ (so in full it would be Garcinia mangostana ‘Mesta’. You will find it in some mangosteen shops being sold as Japanese mangosteens. These have a “sharp pointed bottom” as described in the blog i eat i shoot i post. (Botanical term for such a shape – obovoid). This particular cultivar has very tiny seeds so it feels like it is seedless! "

https://lovemacritchie.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/10-amazing-plants-in-our-macritchie-forest/



" Another gem that you can find at 818 Durians is their very special “Japanese” Mangosteens. If they are available, make sure you grab a bag. These Mangosteens are easily recognized by their sharp, pointed bottoms as compared to the usual Mangosteens which are round. The flesh is crisp, sweet and tangy and amazingly, there the seeds are so small that most of them are edible! I found that you might get one seed that you would need to spit out in every Mangosteen you split open! It’s the best Mangosteens I have ever come across! "

In regular mangosteens, often some of the fleshy white segments inside of regular rind do not contain seed. These segments tend to be much smaller, but also make for a more enjoyable eating experience. In rare cases a mangosteen fruit may not contain any seed. The best Mangosteen fruits are those with the highest number of stigma lobes, which indicate the highest number of fleshy segments and the fewest seeds. The number of stigma lobes and the number of fleshy segments always match. The rare mangosteen variety 'mesta' typically only has 2 to 3 hard seeds, so the fruit is relatively seedless.

In the pictures you can see the shape of the mesta variety is a little bit oblong, compared to the regular variety, with a more pointed tip. Fruits are slightly smaller and the exterior rind a little thicker.

The mesta variety is grown in Pahang and Sabah, Malaysia.


Mangosteen may not be a true species

There is some evidence to support a theory that Mangosteen may actually be a result of a cross between two other Garcinia species. This would explain the unusual fact that Mangosteen seeds appear only to result from asexual means.

http://www.mangosteen.com/Sciencenonscienceandnonsense.htm

Mangosteen is very unusual in that it grows true from seed, 100% genetically identical, since the "seeds" are actually adventitious embryos (or hypocotyl tubercles). The species Mangosteen is olbligate agamospermous (seeds only form asexually). However, all other Garcinia species only propagate seed via sexual reproduction (having separate male and female flowers on the same plant).

You might be inclined to think therefore that all Mangosteen trees in existence would be genetically identical, but this was found not to be true. A genetic study showed that some mangosteen lineages had a small amount of genetic variation, while a small number had as much as a 22-31% variation. This suggests that the original mangosteen lineage could have been crossbred at some point with another Garcinia species, possibly resulting in hybrid lineages capable or sexual reproduction (that have now been lost) that could then have been repeatedly backcrossed with mangosteen.

Mangosteen fruit has been cultivated for at least 500 years, perhaps several thousand years, in what is today Indonesia. There is one theory that the fruit might actually have first been domesticated in Thailand, although it was not native to this range.

I will also point out that a similar situation exists for the rare Wood's Cycad, Encephalartos woodii, in which there are no surviving females of the species, although some speculate this could be evidence that Wood's Cycad might have just been a localized natural hybrid between E. natalensis and E. ferox, as it is naturally possible for the cycad to propagate clonally through offshoots.

Domesticated mangosteen is probably mostly, or entirely, descended from the wild species Garcinia Malaccensis.

The following link says researchers had previously mistook another species G. penangiana for G. malaccensis (an easy mistake to make because many of these wild species are so obscure and bear a similar resemblance) and that this error added confusion for some time as to what the true origins of mangosteen may have been.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10722-014-0097-2

It's also quite possible 'mesta' could simply just be a sport of mangosteen (i.e. a clonal mutation).



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