[NAFEX] Winter Hardy Tropicals

BekeeprTop at aol.com BekeeprTop at aol.com
Mon Feb 26 17:18:53 EST 2007

First of all, you're missing PawPaw, which is a tropical plant in every 
respect.  Except it is rock hardy and matures its mango-like fruits in all sorts of 
zone 5 climates.  Why not grow it, that really does grow tropical fruits in 

The NAFEX person to ask about bamboo is Rick Valley of Oregon.  

I've seen a banana growing in Arlington, MA, contact me if you want the 
grower's phone # or email.  

I believe the owner of Oregon Exotics told me Ponicirus trifoliata is the 
ONLY citrus of any description that is truly deciduous -meaning its smart enough 
to drop its leaves when fall comes - can anyone contradict that?  Grapefruit 
are 69 cents this week at my grocery store.  The best houseplant I ever had was 
a calamondin orange, I bartered for it when it was 10 yrs old, and then I 
owned it for another approx. 15 years before it died.  It required 2 qts of water 
every day or a gallon every day.   It had a windowsill of its own with best 
sun exposure but bloomed and bore its heart out, and I sometimes feel like 
getting another.   It was far better than any lemon for flavoring, like as a 
topping on broccoli.  

Let us know what you find out about bamboo and fruits from banana and palm
Charlie Paradise

In a message dated 2/26/07 4:53:06 PM, Gtolle0709 at wowway.com writes:

<< Folks,

     I've been researching zone 5 hardy tropicals with an eye towards 
trying to grow some within the next couple of years. I still have a lot 
to research but I have a few questions that some of you pioneers may be 
able to answer.

1) Bamboo - Does anyone know if the physical characteristics of the 
Canebrake Bamboo (Arundinaria gigantiea) compare with those of, say 
Phyllostachys nuda? In particular, I am thinking about both use as 
structural rods and the edibility of the shoots.

2) Banana - The winter-hardy banana from Japan (Musa basjoo) is listed 
everywhere as producing inedible fruit. Is this inedible inedible or is 
this banana inedible but maybe plantain edible. Also, does the fruit 
(even if inedible) mature in zone 5-6? I wonder in terms of possible 
cross-pollination with a more edible species and selecting from 
seedlings (not that I know anything about breeding bananas).

3) Oranges - Ponicirus trifoliata is listed as having fruit that is 
inedible (bitter, I assume) or lemon-like. What are people's experiences 
out there? Is it worth growing as a lemon substitute? Does the fruit 
mature in sone 5? Does anyone have experience with any of the other 
winter-hardy hybrids out there?

4) Palms - A number of palm species appear to be moderately 
winter-hardy. Does anyone have any experience with the fruit? The 
descriptions that I've read suggest that the flesh is thin but 
potentially edible.

     I'm sure that many other questions will occur to me over the next 
year or two but these are important for deciding where I want to direct 
my attention. Thanks.

Geoffrey Tolle
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