View Full Version : citrus tree identification

10-14-2008, 09:04 PM
I have this citrus tree growing in a pot. The problem is I don't remember what fruit it came from. Despite being purchased at the local Walmart and having been irradiated there were two seeds that had started to sprout roots so I planted them. One died and the other is growing well. I don't have a digital camera so I can't post a picture. I remember that the fruit was delicious and my guess is that it was a Blood Orange or a Ruby Grapefruit.

It has thorns at every branch and at the base of most leaves. I know that bitter oranges have thorns, but this fruit was very sweet. The thorns are thin, (thinner than those on a bitter orange) sharp and about an inch long.

The leaves are almost 2 leaves in one both arranged one after another in line on the same central rib. The proximal portion is a long and thin oval to teardrop shape about an inch long and a half inch wide and the distal section is a much larger oval to teardrop about an inch and a half wide and about 2 and a half long, for the total leaf length of around three and a half inches. The teardrops are arranged with the wider parts abbutting. If you look very closely the leaf edges have tiny ruffled edges, but at a glance look smooth dark green and almost waxy.

I've tried some tree identification sites but they so far have only pictures of fully grown trees from far enough away that you can't see individual leaves and no detailed descriptions.

10-14-2008, 09:09 PM
patience is a virtue... can you wait til it bears fruit? :tongue

10-14-2008, 09:24 PM
I guess I'll have to wait. Maybe I should name it Mo, for mutant orange. It did survive irradiation afterall. Hopefully it won't turn into an Audrey.

Tsu Dho Nimh
10-15-2008, 02:54 AM
Citrus is hard to identify until it fruits. Many varieties have thorns and the "wings"on the petiole (leaf stem).

10-15-2008, 08:55 AM
From my understanding, most citrus trees these days are grafted. The root ball is from a wild, much hardier variety, but not so prolific in the fruit-bearing department. The top half is from a variety that bears more fruit.

By the thorns and such on your tree, it sounds like the top bit has died and the root tree has survived to grow.

By sounds of it, the fruit has an orange skin and red/pink interior, so I think blood orange may be your tree. For what it's worth, which isn't much at all.

L M Ashton
10-15-2008, 03:52 PM
My understanding is that most citrus fruits are grafted since that's the only way to get those fruits to grow (why, I don't know). Most citrus fruits grown from seed will revert to the type of tree the other part was grafted onto. There are a couple of exceptions, from what I've read, one being key lime (6 or 7 years to fruit when grown from seed, 3 or 4 when grafted). But other than that, I don't know.

10-15-2008, 06:20 PM
When I was about eight, I found a dropped citrus seed (I believe it was a grapefruit seed) on the floor and planted it. My ever-encouraging father kept telling me, "Now, don't be disappointed when nothing comes up. you can't grow seeds that way. Nothing's going to come up, you know."

Today, "Nothing" is about eight feet tall and overwintering downstairs. :D

I think seed-grown trees can flower and fruit, but it can take forever. Mine hasn't in 22 years. However, it's absolutely gorgeous - and yeah, it was one of the first times (that I remember) that my father told me I'd never be able to do something and I proved him wrong.

Kathie Freeman
10-15-2008, 07:33 PM
My understanding is that most citrus fruits are grafted since that's the only way to get those fruits to grow (why, I don't know).

It's the only way you can be sure of getting the same genes.

Most citrus fruits grown from seed will revert to the type of tree the other part was grafted onto.

Most modern fruit varieties are hybrids many generations removed from the original. Seedlings usually revert to one of the parent fruits, or something even further back.

10-15-2008, 10:40 PM
Thirty-five plus years ago my neighbor started a grapefruit seed in a pot. When it got to about 6 feet tall, he transplanted it outside. Within a few years it gave the most wonderful fruit, and so much that he had to prop the branches up with sticks so the weight of the fruit didn't break them off. He supplied the whole neighborhood with grapefruit.


L M Ashton
10-16-2008, 05:34 AM
Kathie, thanks for filling in the blanks. :)

10-16-2008, 06:10 PM
Remember Little Shop of HorrorS? FEED ME!!

10-16-2008, 06:57 PM
I am rather confused how the fruit could revert. It couldn't really rever to the root stock is the fruit comes genetically from the fruiting part of the graft--the root stock has no geneitc input to the fruit. So the reversion must have another mechanism.

Kathie Freeman
10-16-2008, 08:04 PM
The seeds of a hybrid fruit contain the genes from 2 or more different parent fruit which may or may not be hybrids themselves, and may have also been cross pollinated with other citrus in the neighborhood, therefore the seeds of the fruit in question will probably contain a random mix of genes from a wide variety of scources. Since the genes of the historical ancestor are usually the dominant genes, that is what you frequently will get, however it is theoretically possible to get the exact same combination as the parent fruit, or you might get some thing new and wonderful. That is what makes horticulture so exciting.