Today my wife had to go to Wichita, KS, to meet with immigration. She's from Ghana. So I drove her and after the meeting, which went well, I drove on to Hong's Landscape where there is a big Poncirus bush (AKA hardy orange bush). The price is still $1 per pound of fruit. I bought a pound. I expect to get a few hundred seeds from these for use as rootstocks for my breeding stock. So far I have about 150 Poncirus seedlings planted over the last 3 years. Plus about 25 that are from a special Poncirus bush that produces sexual seeds. Other Poncirus seedlings, like most citrus, are clones of their mother. My sexual seedling are a year old. It will likely be about 7-8 years before they flower. Could be more than that. I also have about 25 seedlings from Sanford citrange. Citranges are hybrids of orange and Poncirus. Citranges generally have seeds that contain only clones of the mother. Sanford produces seeds sexually. Poncirus generally are not concidered edible. They aren't poison, but one taste and you won't care if they are poison. They taste pretty bad. Some years ago, I ate 4 of them to try see if the sugar-acid ratio and the aromatic oils would give a useful flavor if the evil tasting substance was bred out. I was never sure. Citranges have less of the evil taste. Some people like them when prepared right, but most don't. And the citranges are less winter-hardy than Poncirus. A few backcrosses to citrus have been made, being 3/4 citrus:1/4 Poncirus. Again, some people find them edible, most don't. They are better than F1 citranges, but they have lost more cold-hardiness. Someday I'll be the first person (that I know of) to grow citrange F2 and other proportions in large quantities. I have been promised 200 more Sanford seeds this fall. I hope they arrive soon.
Imgrimmer PMed me and got me in touch with someone who says he'll send me seeds of the precocious hardy orange, Pocirus trifoliate. It is supposed to take only 2 or 3 years to bloom, rather than 8 years. That is a big help, depending on the inheritance of the trait. I've read online that it's F1 seedlings are not precocious. I haven't heard anything about the F2. I'm referring to when it is used as a pollen parent in crosses. Its seeds are all clones of itself, but its pollen is good. I hope and expect that precocity is a genetic trait, but it is possible it is a seed-born infection or some such. The same person also is sending seeds of US 852. US 852 is from C. reticulate (tangerine or mandarin) X P. trifoliate. US 852 has about 50% zygotic (sexual) seeds, and about 50% non-sexual seeds. And while it has some of the nasty trifoliate taste, it can be eaten and enjoyed. And some of its seedlings have even less of the trifoliate taste. US 852 and its seedlings won't be hardy here in Kansas, but this is a big step in the right direction.
Two days ago, I started 294 P. trifoliate seeds inside. These are just for grafting later seedlings from controlled crosses later on. I already have about 100 seedlings in the ground, planted over the last 3 years.
Two of my citranges (edible orange x trifoliate orange ) have buds. One is Troyer, and I can't think of the other just now. Neither work as seed parents. Bummer. But if they produce ripe fruit, they will be my first home-grown citrus except for kumquats. These hybrids are not hardy outside in zone 6 where I am. And they have a bad flavor, diluted, from the trifoliate orange.
I already have about 100 seedlings in the ground, planted over the last 3 years.
How many of your seedlings died in your winter? Are they mostly hardy enough?
I just checked my greenhouse. the US119 seedlings catched my eye as they are almost trifoliate, I don`t know wheather it is because of a back cross with Poncirus or segregation. They came from UC Riverside. Also found some chance hybrids between seedlings of different Ichang Papeda hybrids from the french Citrus station in France INRA. My precocious Poncirus is still dormant I really hope for a good season. Sadly it is a very poor grower for me. Poncirus polyandra is about bud breaking. It is just a curiousity as it is much less cold hardy then P.trifoliata. Let`s hope for a good season!
Location: Lueneburg, Northern Germany, Europe Zone 7b
I start my P. trifoliata seedlings as soon as I can get them in the fall. I put them out in the spring and grow them in good condition all summer. Usuallly all, or very nearly all of them make it through their first winter. After that, their care is not so good, but I still don't loose many. Most of my losses are seedlings during their first winter growing in the house of now in my greenhouse in pots. More losses are during their first hot summer, when not yet very well rooted. By fall they are over their tranplanting shick and have been healthy for a while, they do well. This year winter was very dry. I was not able to irrigate either. Many had die-back due to drought, not cold, I think. It was a very warm winter for me. And while damaged, I expect them to re-grow from the live bit of stem that almost all of them have, the lowest 2 or 3 CM. from the ground. I am not trying any of my half-breeds. I am pretty sure they would all die. I will be trying 3/4 P. trifoliata 1/4 citrus when I have them. Perhaps some will survive, I am not counting on it, but I'd be a fool not to try. I expect to have to breed 7/8 P. trifoliata 1/8 citrus to get good survival. We'll see.
I checked yesterday, and 3 of the died-back trifoliate orange seedlings have one leaf each. Many others still have green, plump stems on the bottom inch of above-ground stem. I expect all of them to sprout in the next week.
About a week ago I was planting hulless oats, hulless barley, corn, and grain sorghum in rows between my trifoliata orange seedling. The trifoliata orange seedlings are in rows 2 meters apart, and spaced about a meter apart in the rows, so there is space that will have to be weeded, I might as well use it. I had sprouted the corn and sorghum seeds, so I was wearing my reading glasses and crawling along, watching out for the trifoliate seedlings. So pretty soon I noticed that some of the trifoliates that had died back had tiny pinhead-sized green buds down low. I was expecting them but hadn't seen them while standing. So today I was out working and I decided to couny the seedling with new growth. 74 out of the 200. Not what I'd expected going into the winter, but enough to keep me going. They have made good growth during the last week, as much as 2 inches.
A progress report. I now have 3 F2 or OP seedlings from US 852, or US 832? I'll have to look it up and edit this. Anyway it is trifoliate orange x mandarin that makes about 50% sexual seedling. The new seed from Sanford trifoliate orange x good orange has germinated, and I have about 75 seedlings. Sanford makes nearly 100% sexual seedlings. I say about 100% because some of the seedlings look like siamese twins coming from one seed. Of those, at least one isn't sexually produced.
At the moment I have some seedlings I hope to test for cold tolerance.
Some of these are
(Atalantia spec. x Orange)x Ichang Papeda, Batumi Citrange x Ichang Papeda, Sanford Curafora x Ichang Papeda, Orange Vaniglia x ichang Papeda Pursha x N1tri (which is Ichang x Poncirus) Faustrime x Ichang Papeda
I think to find a good hybrid I need some more varieties, especially Citrus with a short juvenile phase. I hope for Pursha, Faustrime and M.papuana/C.wintersii and other Microcitrus as these are available. If it works I could reduce the time to bloom down to 3 years in theory. The perfect match would be still C.wakonai which blooms already within its first year. I gave up on precocious Poncirus. It is too sensitive for me rootrot, dieback what ever you call it precocious Poncirus attracts it all It should be possible to find a good hybrid by chance but the years until first fruit are too long to do a mass selection. So I go first for a precocious hybrid whether hardy or not and then try to cross it in hardier hybrids or Poncirus. Until then I try to sow F2 or F3 selfed seeds of some hardier hybrids or backcross them to Ichang Papeda or Poncirus.
Location: Lueneburg, Northern Germany, Europe Zone 7b