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Citrus tree identification

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Bobp

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I know it's strange but i found several citrus trees growing near a river bottom in the lower ozark mountains... They were growing behind an old abandond school house. They trees have very long sharp thorns, and there were quite a bit of fruit still on them... most were shrivviling up, but we tried a couple, and they are definatly citrus... probably oranges... maybe a mother variety of some hybrid??? Do any of you have any experience identifying them? The fruit were golfball to small tennis ball size..with a very very citrusy smell... and had several seeds..
Orange fruit found behind cass school house Dec. 2011 016.JPG

Orange fruit found behind cass school house Dec. 2011 016 (1).JPG
 

Deezil

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Did a little reading and it seems the thorns are attributed to younger growth or trees that werent maintained very well, mostly.. I think under-watering might have been that plants problem if you look at the thorns + small fruit size.. Or maybe sunlight.. Seems a lot of citrus varieties produce thorns except the newer ones who've been selectively-bred to remove the trait.

Also seems that leaves are a good indicator on what species you're dealing with. If you had a picture of the leaves, i probably still wouldnt be able to pinpoint the variety for you..

This just intrigued me so i did some reading and figured i'd share what i came across. I would speculate like you did, that its some variety of orange - but beyond that... I'd probably just eat it :)

... Unless theres enough for a 5-gallon batch, then.. Well.. You can guess the rest :)
 

Bobp

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I'm thinking they must be bastard / volunteer plants.. probably from a hybrid parent, so identification would be tough... They are growing behind an old 1 room school house.. in the shade with the biggest plant being right up against the building..about 15-20 feet tall.... no leaves still on just thorns and fruit... and most fruit was on the ground...but there were several other of the same trees around... and almsot have to be some sort of orange.. I am wondering how they grew in this climate, and wheather i could transplant a few of them and get them to succesfully bear fruit???
 

winemaker_3352

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Hedge Apple??

They can become a yellowish color late in the year, and i have never cut one open to see the inside.

Just a shot in the dark here..
 

Sacalait

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That looks like a trifoliate orange. It can be used as a grafting root stock for most if not all citrus plants.
 

Bobp

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That would mean it almost had to be used as a parent to a hybrid as well?? Interesting...
My google results brought up some interesting reading... It can grw into Zone 5..-29F..it is a very hardy plant.. i beleive i'll go dig a few and transplant them.. Apparently there is a hedge row on the University of Ok that has been there for more than 50 years.. and the Univ of ark has studied them extensivly..
I gotta try to grow them.. Imagine a Citrus wine made from fruit grown outside in North Arkansas..It would definatly carry some novilty appeal..
 

Chunkiemonkey

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100% certain this Trifoliate Orange or Poncirus trifoliata. This is a semi common hedge plant in the south and they are also used for root stock. Fruit is tremendously sour and bitter but safe to eat! Fruit first appears green then ripens in mid to late fall. Ive seen jelly made from it but never wine, sounds interesting. Good luck!
 

Bobp

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I transplanted 5 to my property, planted with good soil, near one of our ponds, in an out of the way full sun location.... top dressed with 0-20-20 fertilizer to help the roots get moving, and a gave em a good pruning, we'll see how they do... Jam and wine from my own home grown Ozark citrus fruit would be cool!
 

wnettles

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We had some of these growing down near a mill pond when I was a kid and we used to harvest the fruit and make a sort of "lemonade" from them. Lemons had to be bought from the store, but, these sour citrus were free and tasted great. Amazing how our grandparents knew how to make the best use of natural resources.........
 

Bobp

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Well i'm very sad to report that all 5 of the trees i transplanted died....They lived through the heat and drought then did not come back in the spring... So i'll try again in a new loccation and see if i can help them more this time.??
 

jimpeterson

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I came across an old gold mine, that operated in the 30s', in the state of Durango, Mexico, that had trees like yours. The locals said that they were "lima"; some cross between a limon and something else. I ate a couple, and they were semi sweet.
A big farmer there, told me that this was the fruit the English sailors ate for scurvy.
 

Bobp

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I'm going to go back this spring and try to reloccate some again... i have a little better understanding now of what they need... I have a great spot for them.... OZARK grown and produced citrus wine would be a really cool novilty i think.
 

Sacalait

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Well i'm very sad to report that all 5 of the trees i transplanted died....They lived through the heat and drought then did not come back in the spring... So i'll try again in a new loccation and see if i can help them more this time.??
Try planting the seeds. I'm told most will germinate.
 
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