Saturday, March 04, 2017

Orange You Curious About My Feral Citrus?

The blossom in the photo below stopped me in my tracks a few days ago.
It had been a long wait, but at last, it was here.
This blossom is here, because someone spit an orange seed over the porch rail almost a decade ago. The spitter could have been any of us ... a multitude of peach, watermelon, apple, and citrus seeds are launched over this porch rail.

The usual launching position has the launcher resting their elbows on the porch rail, with the fruit slightly overhanging the rail to allow for juice drippage.
This is especially crucial with peaches.

Most seeds don't make it due to a variety of reasons, but this little citrus seed sprouted and survived.
I remember spotting it and weeding around it in the flower bed when it was about 8 inches tall.

At the time, I thought I would move it out into the woods.
 I failed to do so and now it stands 20 feet tall with a DBH of 5-6 inches.
My baby ... pruned of lower branches and ALL 4 inch long spines below 6 feet.
They are wickedly sharp woody daggers.

Even in the extremely long term frigidity of the 2009-10 winter, this tree carried on.

Each year,I scour it's foliage seeking a blossom, but there has never been one...until now.
Now I can spot a dozen or so that are already open.

I have no illusions about the sweetness of any fruit produced by these pretty blossoms.
These wildling citrus are almost always sour, but there's Cuban marinades and Sour Orange Pie recipes that take advantage of such things.

Switching gears...
Here's a PFHQ test site.
Located just outside the new fenced yard, this was a brushy, grapevine jungle next to my little meadow area. 
While hacking my way through it during last year's fence project, I tossed cut brush over the new fence just to get it out of the way.
A few months ago, I burned off that brush pile.
My intention was to not allow the grapevines and smilax to retake this patch ... at least not easily.

A few weeks ago, I was in the local "Tractor Supply"store and they had this...
For about 7 bucks, you get a bag of mixed pollinator attracting flower seeds (not necessarily native mind you), that are all coated in something ... I don't know ... pixie dust maybe, that "guarantees" success.

This is what it looks like.
I spread it last weekend over that burned area and so now it is wait and seed.
I'll let you know how it turns out.

Out in the garden, it's a little early for pollinator nesting action, but the anole appreciates the cozy lizard lounge I made a while back.


Julie Zickefoose said...

Now that I see it, what a BEAUTIFUL little tree! Go Rutaceae! Glad to know about the 4" long daggers...they're spiny things. I'm hoping for fabulous sweet fruit, but knowing you'll find a way to use sour ones too. It's just a pretty tree and it's going to smell so good!

threecollie said...

I did not know that citrus had spines. Do the tame trees as well? We were fascinated by wild orange trees...or maybe feral... that we saw here and there but didn't know if you could eat the fruit or not, so we just took pictures. Good luck with your flowers!

robin andrea said...

What a wonderful thing to watch grow over the years, that beautiful tree from a tossed seed. I can't wait to read about the fruit when it shows up. Also looking forward to the field of wildflowers. Ah spring so much to see!

R.Powers said...

Hey all, most of the grafted varieties of citrus seem pretty spineless, but the sour orange rootstock that they graft on is wickedly thorny. You can see this when a sucker sprout grows from below the graft.
It makes sense that wild citrus would have thorny defenses.
I've never seen a seedling grown citrus tree w/o thorns.

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