Author Topic: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID  (Read 371 times)

JSea

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Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« on: November 14, 2022, 04:00:42 AM »
Hi folks, wanting to get a better idea of what this might be. It was sold as pomelo, would come from a few decades old tree (not imported fruit), Southern hemisphere. I don't have any photos of the tree sorry.

Zest: Smells just like grapefruit. Extremely bitter, by far the bitterest Citrus part I've ever put in my mouth. Eating a small piece of zest numbs my whole mouth, with some tingling (no I'm not allergic to grapefruit or any other Citrus and eat plenty of Citrus rind, eat tons of marmalade etc)
Pith: Very bitter.
Flesh: Smells like some storebought lemonade drink with a grapefruit hint. Juice/flesh is fairly sour, bitter and not a lot of sweetness. I guess fairly similar to white grapefruit juice.
Seeds: Extremely large, rectangle shape.

Despite all this, I can't get rid of the idea of trying to make marmalade from the whole fruit... it would be immensely potent and probably just pure medicine taste. Madness.






« Last Edit: November 14, 2022, 04:28:05 AM by JSea »

kumin

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2022, 04:40:58 AM »
Planting the seeds could give a clue as to being Grapefruit vs Pomelo. Grapefruit seedlings exhibit a great deal of uniformity, as the majority are clones of the parent tree. Pomelo, by contrast tend to have no cloned seedlings and exhibit variation in the seedlings.
If you have access to the parent tree, a controlled pollination of a number of the flowers by a pollinator with distinctive foliage could make the identification easier.

JSea

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2022, 04:59:32 AM »
Great plan. I was planning to sprout some of the seeds to see what comes out. If you mean that most grapefruit are polyembryonic, then it should also be easy to tell if multiple sprouts are coming from each seed.

I should also note that the fruits have been variably seedy. Majority were seedless (well, tiny little undeveloped specks), and a few fruit had a lot of seeds.

A few of the fruit had a sort of 'neck', but it was so subtle as to almost be imaginary.

kumin

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2022, 05:41:52 AM »
Multiple embryos per seed is certainly a good indicator of polyembryony. Very rarely there may be twinned zygots, but unlikely on a small scale.

pagnr

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2022, 05:08:06 PM »
As you are from Aotearoa NZ it is most likely a Wheeny Grapefruit, or a Poorman Orange ( NZ grapefruit)
Are you familar with Wheeny or Poorman ? I think there was another called Sunfruit ?

'The long-dominant strain of the New Zealand grapefruit was the Morrison Seedless, but in the 1980s, it was surpassed by a bud sport called the 'Golden Special' developed in a Tauranga commercial orchard. In the 1970s, a grapefruit identical to the latter but with a deep orange rind, the 'Cutler Red' was selected at Kerikeri. "
 
The rind on the fruit in the pic is pretty thick. It could be a Pummelo or Shaddock, quite easily from Tonga or Cook Islands etc. I am in Victoria Aust and even here some Tropical Pummelos are quite sour and bitter. There were a lot of historic Citrus varieties on some of the small NZ Islands from the seafearing days.
(Six Months in a Leaky Boat). Planted on failed settlements or as provision posts.

If it is very bitter, another possibility is a Swingle Citrumelo seedling from an overgrown rootstock.
Fruit on some seedling Swingles is quite large with big seeds and a whiff of pineapple scent. Seedlings will be trifoliate.
Pics of the tree and foliage would help.

"I should also note that the fruits have been variably seedy. Majority were seedless (well, tiny little undeveloped specks), and a few fruit had a lot of seeds."

That might point to a "seedless" variety fruit being X pollinated. You might get variable seedlings.

It would be great if you could tell us more about NZ Citrus. Cooler weather types are interesting to many growers on the forum.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2022, 05:23:22 PM by pagnr »

JSea

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2022, 08:31:53 PM »
Definitely not a Wheeny grapefruit or Poorman orange / NZG. 100% certain on that. The zest/pith on NZG is not that bitter and I made marmalade with them pretty easily. They also tend to have a lot more of an orange flavour in them.
The other name is Goldfruit. Usually just called New Zealand Grapefruit these days though.

If you're saying tropical pomelos can be sour and bitter, well this was grown in upper North island which would be considered the limits of true grapefruit cultivation (for commercial grade anyway), so pomelo / true grapefruit would not be expected to be better than something from the islands. I just don't get why pomelo is so popular then if they're sour and bitter and probably can't even make marmalade with them either? Like NZG is also a bit sour and bitter, but way higher juice quantity and probably a lot sweeter too (and rind is perfect for marmalade). I get that this is probably a shitty pomelo so not comparable to a good one, but still...

The seeds look a bit wrong shape for citrumelo (too flat and rectangular, and fruits are usually seedless too), and I suspect the leaves of the tree wouldn't have led to it being identified as pomelo. However it's a good suggestion. Citrumelo is also not known to be grown in NZ. I guess we'll see with the seedlings what sort of leaves pop up.

Sorry the tree is many hours away, won't be visiting it for years at best :)

Very happy to answer any questions about Citrus in NZ.

NZ Lemonade is obviously very popular and widely grown. Meyer lemons are planted everywhere and must make up a solid 1/3 of backyard Citrus trees.

NZ Grapefruits too grow widely, almost down to 43S. Rest of the common Citrus are pretty similar to what is available overseas (lemons, limes, oranges, mandarins, tangors, tangelos, green finger lime starting to become more common)

The only other "unique" NZ Citrus would be the Maori lemon / Kaipara lemon, which is probably the exact same fruit as the Australian Bush Lemon (small, wrinkly yellow fruit, sometimes eaten whole, skin and all), which seems to be a sweet form of rough lemon.

There's a few recently released mandarin hybrids ('Bay Zest', 'Bay Sweetie', 'Bay Sunset' and 'Bay Gold') for home use, but I don't think they're particularly distinguishable from their parents really.

« Last Edit: November 14, 2022, 08:38:18 PM by JSea »

1rainman

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2022, 09:26:49 PM »
It looks like a trifoliate x grapefruit (or pommelo) crossed with a grapefruit again. Swingle fruit look like large oranges. Flavor is like orange crossed with grapefruit not too bitter but has a bit too much of that nasty trifoliate taste to be worth eating but almost edible. They aren't quite that large and are orange but a swingle crossed with a pomelo or grapefruit would look like that. Not sayings it's swingle could be a similar cross. I would imagine swingle x grapefruit wouldn't be too bad but depends how much trifoliate flavor.

Could be a sour orange cross which would explain the bitterness. Trifoliate while not sweet isn't that bitter. Just has that bitter off flavor attached to it. But the rind where it's sliced in half looks trifoliate.

It doesn't look like a pure pommelo or pure grapefruit. That would be my theory like 3/4 with 1/4 trifoliate judging by appearances which could also explain the flavor.

1rainman

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2022, 09:29:42 PM »
It looks like a trifoliate x grapefruit (or pommelo) crossed with a grapefruit again. Swingle fruit look like large oranges. Flavor is like orange crossed with grapefruit not too bitter but has a bit too much of that nasty trifoliate taste to be worth eating but almost edible. They aren't quite that large and are orange but a swingle crossed with a pomelo or grapefruit would look like that. Not sayings it's swingle could be a similar cross. I would imagine swingle x grapefruit wouldn't be too bad but depends how much trifoliate flavor.

Could be a sour orange cross which would explain the bitterness. Trifoliate while not sweet isn't that bitter. Just has that bitter off flavor attached to it. But the rind where it's sliced in half looks trifoliate.

It doesn't look like a pure pommelo or pure grapefruit. That would be my theory like 3/4 with 1/4 trifoliate judging by appearances which could also explain the flavor.it does look very similar to swingle just slightly larger and slightly less orange. Swingle has few seeds due to being a hybrid it has low fertility but seeds are possible.

JSea

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2022, 09:42:41 PM »
It's possible but unlikely I think. There's no recorded Swingle citrumelo in NZ (or any citrumelo for that matter. Only a few citranges are known, but they're very very rare), but this plant comes from an orchard that was known to have a lot of exotic fruit sourced a few decades ago (including a number of plants grown from US seed, e.g. Asimina), so I could see it's possible that a US pomelo seed was grown which had Swingle as a pollen parent.

I haven't tasted trifoliata fruit, so that is something that I can't comment on the similarity to. The seeds seem a bit too flat and rectangle to have trifoliata genes in them though? Generally most trifoliata hybrids have very plump round seeds?

There's definitely no orange flavour in this fruit though. It's closer to a lemon to be honest (pomelo x lemon was one of my original guesses, but having no real experience with pure pomelo I can't say how likely this is). Hopefully in a month's time or so the seedling leaves will come out and give some extra hints.

The zest is vastly more bitter than sour orange (e.g. Seville orange) from my tastings of the two, another whole level or two above. Almost everyone would consider it unusably bitter...

... but I have decided to make a trial batch of marmalade just to see what happens. If I stop replying in a few days time, it's because I died from the marmalade.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2022, 09:51:05 PM by JSea »

pagnr

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2022, 12:41:50 AM »
"If you're saying tropical pomelos can be sour and bitter, well this was grown in upper North island which would be considered the limits of true grapefruit cultivation"

Certainly the types from Darwin NT were sour here, Grapefruit are fine here and some Pummelos are fine.

"but this plant comes from an orchard that was known to have a lot of exotic fruit sourced a few decades ago (including a number of plants grown from US seed, e.g. Asimina"

That possibly widens the possibilities a lot. I think the chances of it being a Tri or Swingle backcross are fairly low. They are common as rootstocks but less so as fruiting trees.

No Citrumelos or Citranges in NZ ? What do they use for rootstocks ?

JSea

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2022, 01:29:52 AM »
Well if Darwin pomelos are sour, there's no way that our NZ pomelos will be sweet then! Good to hear.

We do have a few citranges in NZ, but they're very rarely used from what I can tell. I'd estimate at least 95% of the rootstocks would be a standard trifoliata (not sure which strain) or Flying Dragon.

pagnr

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2022, 02:44:45 AM »
Well if Darwin pomelos are sour, there's no way that our NZ pomelos will be sweet then! Good to hear.

Just to clarify that, some of the types grown in Darwin are from Thailand. When grown in Victoria the fruit were sour.
In Victoria I can grow Red Shaddock, Tahitian, Honnefs, a grapefruit hybrid. I have tried MurrayDowns, possibly came from China with Chinese workers.
Nam Roi is said to ok in cooler climates. Oroblanco and Melogold are " Pummelos"  actually Pummelo grapefruit hybrids for temperate climates.
(Interesting that I gave some Oroblanco plants to a friend north of Brisbane, the fruit are not great there from reports back )
Possibly some from Japan or China,  like Hirado or Mato would be ok in temperate climates.
We get imported Pummelos from USA and Isreal, and I believe South Africa also exports a variety.
How does this pic of Oroblanco match up with your fruit ?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oroblanco_(sweetie)_fruits.jpg

JSea

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2022, 03:46:27 AM »
Thanks for the clarification.

The "pomelo" I had would be grown in climate similar to Victoria I think.

Oroblanco looks more flattened and smooth than what I had. I also am pretty sure we don't have that variety in NZ.
I think we do have Duncan, which I thought looked closer to the fruit I have.

sc4001992

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2022, 05:27:14 PM »
Some Oroblanco fruits do look like yours above, but they are not sour, it is sweet, not much sourness so no need to add sugar to eat it. Also, it is seedless.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2022, 03:21:32 PM by sc4001992 »

pagnr

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2022, 07:11:49 PM »
I am getting seeds in my Oroblancos recently. Previously none, and none or occasionally one in a friends tree. There is now a heavily flowering Sour Orange / Smooth Seville next to it, that started fruiting last year so maybe that is the pollen donor ?
As I said above it is a nice fruit here, but I sent trees to the subtropics and the grower said it is not nice to eat there at all.
That is a revelation to me as I thought it would be milder flavoured in a warmer climate.
Climate might be a factor in sourness, but hard to see Oroblanco being super sour in NZ ?

sc4001992

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2022, 07:34:41 PM »
I do notice sometimes my Oroblancos are not as sweet as some years, but not really ever sour/tart tasting.

You should try the Melogold, it is always sweeter than my Oroblaco and it is also seedless. The tree is very productive, grows more compact than the Oroblanco tree.

JSea

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2022, 01:01:04 AM »
This fruit above would have been harvested in the equivalent of early May for Northern hemisphere (in marginal climate too). Not sure if that's early or not for the season, but I suspect it is? I did some asking around and a friend growing pomelo in a greenhouse in a marginal climate in NZ (~43S) says it's only sweet when the fruit actually falls off the tree, and otherwise is sour and bitter.

pagnr

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2022, 02:51:51 PM »
As you say that the fruit came from an orchard of  a fruit enthusiast/collector, the possibilities are fairly wide.
Apart from visiting the tree for further ID, or getting a photo of the foliage, growing the seedlings is the next best option.
Most Pummelos have recognisable seedlings, different from grapefruit or Poorman / Seville. They will usually out grow both of these too.
Also as your friend suggested with the late fallen Pummelo fruit being sweet and edible, maybe the tree hasn't been harvested properly for best results.
That might be a long shot, but trying some fruit further down the track might be interesting ?
As I remember a long time friend grew a Pummelo in the cooler mountain areas around Brisbane, and that never produced acceptable fruit for them.

luak

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Re: Pomelo / Grapefruit ID
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2022, 08:07:06 PM »
 I love Valentine pomelo’s a lot, very refreshing, juicy, no grapefruit taste, maybe very light.
Don’t need any other varieties, these two are all I wanted to grow. Have a total of 6 trees, pomelo’s.




« Last Edit: November 22, 2022, 07:47:22 PM by luak »

 

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