Skip to Content.
Sympa Menu

nafex - Re: [NAFEX] breeding trifoliate orange

Subject: North American Fruit Explorers mailing list at ibiblio

List archive

Chronological Thread  
  • From: "philip sauber" <>
  • To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <>
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] breeding trifoliate orange
  • Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 11:16:53 -0600

This type of "improving" has been going on for about 100 years starting with
Swingle of the USDA in the early part of the century. The following crosses

trifoliate x grapefruit - Swingle citrumelo
trfoliate x sweet orange - various citranges
trifoliate x sour orange - citradia
citrange x kumquat - thomasville citrangequat
citrange x mandarin - citrangarin

The crosses taste cannot really be described as edible to the average person.
They are mostly used for citrus rootstock. The Florida Citrus arboretum has
many examples of these crosses.

In the last 50 years, various citrus "nuts" in the Houston, TX area have kept
trying, mostly with inedible results.
trifoliate x clemenine - ciclem
yuzu x clementine - 10degree tangerine
changsha x yuzu , etc.

The general consensus is that "hybrids of trifoliate orange lose hardiness
before the undesirable aspects of flavor(from trifoliate orange) are bred
out" ("Citrus for the Gulf Coast" self published by Stewart Nagle.)

The best hybrid I have tasted is the SanCitChang or Sanford citrange x
chansha mandarin. It was close to satsuma in flavor. Nagle describes it as
"cold hardy enough to survive in Dallas, TX but fruit of most has too much
"bite" for most palates." Maybe I tasted a particularly good example.

For someone like me (lives near Houston, TX) who can effortlessly grow
satsumas(one of the best tasting of the mandarins), growing any trifoliate
hybrids is not really worth it because they don't taste as good.

However, I do grow one trifolate hybrid. It is an edible flying dragon
(cortorted form of trifoliate orange) cross of unknown origin discovered in a
batch of flying dragon seedlings in Houston, TX. It is probably flying
dragon x sweet orange. The tree is even more contorted and thorny than
flying dragon. The fruit is smallish and makes an acceptable but not great
lime substitute when green and has only a hint of the the nasty trifoliate
flavor when ripe. The cold hardyness of this cross hasn't been tested as only
about 6 trees exist in the Houston, TX area. To read more about this "dragon

However, the mostly disappointing results to date shouldn't discourage the
die-hard citrus breeder. Most seedling fruit trees(monoembryonic citrus
included) that don't come true from seed can produce a new commercial variety
about 1 in 10,000 tries. Perhaps 10,000 tries haven't been made for
trifoliate crosses yet!

Find what you are looking for with the Lycos Yellow Pages

Archive powered by MHonArc 2.6.24.

Top of Page