Note: this 'web page' prints out as about 27 printer pages
The following notes are intended to show you the range of different fruit and nuts that can be grown in warm temperate areas, and how they might fit into a strategy of growing some food in either a suburban or peri-urban country garden.
Detailed notes and illustrations on pruning, culture, and local pests and diseases affecting the plants you have
sorted out from this list as possibly worth growing can be found in some of the excellent books on fruit and nut
growing in your local bookstore or library.
temperate areas are areas that are generally cold in
winter, but while there are usually air frosts, it never
snows. In the more oceanic influenced variations of this zone,
citrus will fruit, but some of the most heat demanding citrus,
such as the true grapefruit, will only be successful in the
high heat, almost mediterranean variation of this broad
climatic zone. Elevated, or seaside sites, may have only a few
ground frosts in cold years, and no air frosts. In these
microclimates some deciduous fruit cultivars will not have
enough winter chilling, and selecting low chill cultivars is essential.
There is a complex interplay between accumulated heat, wind
effects, chilling, length of season, prescence or abscence of
late frosts, and varietal differences that determines what can
be grown in any one part of this broad zone. Local
experience-seeing what your neighbours grow-is particularly
Indicator plants for warm temperate areas are-peaches, citrus, low chill stonefruit, feijoa, kiwifruit, casimiroa; tamarillo, avocado and banana in favored microclimates
Our choice of type of fruit tree, or even variety of apple or orange or whatever, is not infuenced only by our particular local climatic conditions. Soil, and overwhelmingly, soil drainage, is a vital factor. In general, stonefruit are least tolerant of clay soils (especially where there is a high water table), except that plums are much more tolerant than other stonefruit. Apples are more tolerant still of wet soils, and pears are the most tolerant. Paradoxically, clay soils need heavy mulching or irrigating in hot summers. Lack of water is one of the most important factors in reduced fruit yeild. Luckily, the home fruit gardener can overcome problems of both poor drainage and dry, sandy soil, by the same methods-using lots of organic soils amendments such as peat or compost, using raised beds, and selecting dwarf trees. The ultimate work around for poor soils is to grow dwarf trees in large containers.
When we chose which fruit trees to plant, we have to take into account our personal circumstances and preferences. How much space is available for fruit trees? Is it sunny or rather shady? Is my lifestyle too busy to put a lot of time into regular spraying and pruning? Do I take pride in doing the whole cultural programme well? Will this tree grow very big and shade views or damage paved areas or drains? What does it take to keep assorted varmints-opposums, crows, blackbirds, bullfinches, rats, voles rabbits, wandering children, etc away from the fruit (and bark), and realistically, am I likely to do what it takes? Will the tree start fruiting before I am likely to leave this address? What landscape values (form, blossom, fragrance, foliage, fruit color) does the tree have, and how important is that to me and my 'significant other'? Am I looking for particular health benefits in growing some of my own fruit, and if so, which fruits will deliver those benefits? Am I looking for particular connoisseur taste experiences in growing some of my own fruit, and am I willing to give up productivity if the best variety is poorly productive? 'Growing all my own fruit' is a dream, but an impractical dream even on the basis of there not being enough daylight hours in a week to accomplish such a task, so what are the best strategies-very early and very late varieties when market prices are high? Grow only the species such as Mayhaw or Casimiroa that never appear in the market? Grow a lot of one fruit very well and can/bottle it? A mixed strategy?
The answers to many
of these questions is found in dwarf fruiting trees and in
varieties that cannot (for a variety of reasons) be grown
commercially. It's a delicious challenge, and a very personal
one, because everyones situation and motivation is different
These notes are intended to help you decide how much of your food you would like to grow, now, or in the future.
Plant Hardiness Zones JJJJ This Agriculture Research
Service map not only tells you which hardiness zone you are in,
you can zoom in on any part of the map, or go to your individual
state. State or zoom in maps also give you typical cold hardy
plants, and align the cold hardiness information to a typical
ACTINIDIA-See 'Hardy Kiwifruit' and 'Kiwifruit'
ALMOND-See 'Nut, Almond'
Growing Wild Annona species JJJJ from the Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University Site, an extract from Julia Morton's Book 'Fruits of warm climates'. Discusses and describes Annona senegalensis, with a little on Annona montana. Also covers origin and distribution, uses. Concise, informative. 1 good photos of A. montana fruit
The undisputed King of all fruit for the Urban food
garden. Apples are reliable and heavy croppers (usually), and
are a fruit that everyone likes. Most importantly, they start
bearing very quickly-within 2-3 years of planting for the most
dwarf apples, and within 4-5 years from planting for the
semi-dwarfs (They will bear earlier than this, but it is best
to pull the fruit off and encourage growth at first).The range
of flavors is the most extensive and complex of any fruit,
encompassing perfumed, anise, honeyed, spicy, and with a wide
range and combination of sugar levels and acids. Many superbly
flavored cultivars, such as 'Telstar' or 'Freyburg' won't
stand shipping, or become too easily damaged if they are
properly tree ripened, and so only the home gardener is
able to enjoy these taste sensations. Esaliered trees should
be on a semi-dwarfing rootstock such as MM106. Small free
standing bushes can be created by buying a tree grafted to a
very dwarfing rootstocks such as MM9. These mini trees
definitely need staking with the stake driven well into the
ground at the time of planting. Dwarf trees, either espaliered
against a wall or fence, or as small bushes, are the only game
in town for the small garden of the urban Hominid. Varieties
that bear on short 'spurs' are also desirable, as they are
naturally smaller. Cordoning
apples is not worth the effort unless they are varieties that
spur freely, and are on a slightly more vigorous rootstock
(such as MM106).
Apple blossom is a lovely sight, and the natural columnar spurring types such as 'Polka®' have a particularly valuable form for use in landscaping.
The two major problems are codling moth and bird damage. Moth can be confused by placing pheromone lures around, and birds can be netted out of the tree, or a variety of cunning and reasonably priced commercial bird scare devices can be tried. Some apples are subject to some quite damaging fungus diseases unless they are sprayed; however, there are disease resistant varieties, and most varieties will get by with indifferent attention to copper sprays so long as the trees get fertilised and mulched and watered in hot dry weather. Most of us move house so frequently that by the time a tree is perhaps bady affected, we will have moved anyway.
Conversely, remove badly diseased trees you may find in a property you move to and start with healthy new stock-but don't plant them in the same place as the old trees were removed from.
The kind of apple or apples should be decided by the purpose you have in mind-cooking or fresh eating-and what you like. Some like complex apples with high acid and high sugars, such as 'Cox's Orange', others like perfumed sweet apples with low acid, such as 'Gala'. In the flush of the season, apples are relatively cheap, so a good strategy is to grow an apple that is simply not available, and that has superb eating qualities. Paradoxically, even common commercial varieties can reveal extra sweetness and depth of flavour when they are allowed to hang on the tree longer than would be commercially feasible, and when their soil is amended with lots of organic material and flavor promoting materials such as seaweed and fish manure leaf sprays.
Virtually any soil will grow apples, but light or sandy soils need to be mulched and watered in summer, especially if the weak-rooted MM9 rootstock is being used. The trees need to be kept healthy with good nutrition, adequate sunshine, mulching to suppress weed competion, and summer watering.-an apple tree is said to need at least 20 healthy leaves to mature one fruit. It is advisable to keep pruning to a minimum, but any pruning that needs doing should be done in summer, even if you have to sacrifice a few fruit. Prune the newly grown summer laterals back to 3 or 4 leaves, cut vigorous shoots right back, and when necesary, shorten main branches to a downward pointing bud or spur. Take out the occasional larger branch when necessary to keep the tree open and uncrowded, and prune back some excessively long spurs. Some apples are 'tip bearers', and for these kinds, pruning all the laterals means few fruit next year! Prune them in winter. Only the strongest laterals should be pruned- to about 6 buds. The leaders should also be cut back by about a third. All in all, 'tip bearers' are not as well suited to the small garden. Spray with copper when half the leaves have fallen and in spring at bud burst. Winter pruned trees are much more likely to get a fairly serious disease called 'silverleaf' unless each cut is treated with a top quality wound sealing paste, or unless the tree had been vaccinated against the disease early in it's life. Some apples get into a pattern of bearing heavily every second year, with little or nothing in the in-between years. This 'biennial bearing is difficult to correct. Sometimes hand thinning the fruit when it is newly set will restore a more regular annual pattern.Thinning gives better sized apples anyway. There is often a natural drop of small fruitlets, and once this has passed, it is a good idea to thin the apples to about 4inches/100mm apart.
Apples for cool summers and mild winters-Gravenstein, Akane, Chehalis, Liberty, Jonagold.
Disease resistant varieties-Belmac, Prima, Primevere, Priscella, Redfree, Jonafree, Liberty.
General apple culture.
Alphabetical list and description of apple cultivars.
APRICOTPrunus armeniaca- Home grown
apricots can be so sweet and flavorsome they find every
unfilled cavity in your teeth! Tree ripened fruit of the most
flavorsome cultivars are a connoisseur delight of the highest
order. The main challenges are to keep birds away from them,
and in warmer areas, to get good fruit set. They require less
winter chilling than most peaches, but, paradoxically, often
drop their buds following a warm winter and early spring.
Equally, because they flower very early in Spring, the
blossoms can be damaged in locations that tend to trap frost
in pockets. Apricots really need reasonably free draining
soil, unless they are grafted onto plum roostock. Many
varieties of apricot
are self fertile. However, a pollenizer will increase
They are reasonably attractive in bloom, altho' not quite as showy as most peaches. As they bear fruit on short spurs, they don't need the regular fairly drastic yearly pruning that peaches and nectarines do. Most pruning can be done in summer, after fruiting, and is aimed at controlling size and form, removing old played out spurs and encouraging some new growth for future spurring.
Birds love apricots, and netting the tree is difficult, given it's size. This makes dwarf cultivars an interesting proposition. In addition, like all stone fruit, apricots are subject to 'silverleaf' fungus disease, and 'brown rot' of the fruit. Drier climates have far fewer problems with fungus than wetter areas, and are regarded as almost trouble free trees.
All in all, apricots are immensely rewarding, but because selecting the right variety for your local climatic conditions is of the highest importance, and the fruits have to be protected from varmints, apricots are best regarded as a must for those drier and cold enough but not too cold areas where apricots fruit well, but an uncertain bet in late frost prone, or humid, or very warm areas.
Blenheim-'Royal'. the medium large fruit are sweet but with good acid balance, and firm fleshed. Highly productive tree, and the fruit hold their shape well when canned/bottled.(US, UK, NZ) Blenheim is a moderate chill variety. A lovely photo of the fruit is on the Sierra Gold Nursery web site.
Jordanne-is a very large, high-colored apricot with very good flavor, but it needs a pollenizer (US)
Newcastle-Small, round yellow skinned fruit with soft texture. The tree is large and vigorous, but is subject to disease, especially in humid areas. Newcastle is a low chill variety.(US, NZ)
Newcastle Early Seedling- said to be an improved 'Newcastle'-earlier, better adapted to warm, low chill areas.(NZ)
Sundrop- main commercial variety. Fantastic looking fruit, but not exactly tops in sweetness & flavor. (NZ)
Golden Amber-the fruit are large, fine grained, yellow fleshed, firm, with excellent flavor. The late season fruit have the advantage of ripening over an extended period.The trees are upright, vigorous, and highly productive.(US)
'Goldrich'(US), 'Perfection'(US), and 'Rival'(US) need another variety to act as pollenizer. 'Rival' will pollenize all the others.
Goldstrike-exceptionally high colored flesh, very firm, and is acidic unless fully tree ripened. Needs a pollenizer.(US)
'Puget Gold'- the cv. best adapted to areas with cool summers mild winters where apricots are not generally successful (US)
Dwarf apricots- such as 'Moonglow'(US) and 'Sungold'(US), are both sweet, if not as richly flavored as standard cultivars, but both require a pollenizer. Which happens to be each other.
Lower chill apricots-in the very warmest parts of the warm temperate zone, even these may not suceed, or only in some years-'Blenheim'(USA, NZ), 'Katy Kot'(USA, NZ), 'Gold Kist' (USA), 'Newcastle'(USA, NZ), 'Newcastle Early Seedling'(NZ), 'Trevatt'(NZ).
APRICOT-PLUM HYBRIDS These very exciting
hybrids between the two species are mainly the work of Zaiger
genetics in USA. Pluot® is a trademark name for varieties
derived from complex interspecific hybrids between plum and
apricots. Generally, a 'pluot®' is a cross between a
plumcot (P. armeniaca x P. domestica)
and a plum
Thus it usually has
75% plum genes and 25% apricot genes. Reflecting this, Pluots
have smooth skin like a plum. As already mentioned, plumcots
are a straight plum/apricot hybrid. An aprium® is
also a trademark name for varieties derived from crosses
between plumcots (P. armeniaca x P.domestica)
and apricots (P. armeniaca).Because this results in 75%
apricot genes and only 25% plum genes, the fruits are scantly
covered in a very fine fuzz as are apricots.
One of the features of these hybrids is that they are very sweet, and have complex and excellent flavor.
Plants grafted on 'citation' rootstock are semi dwarfed. The only real drawback has been sorting out pollenizer for these very new fruits. 'Dapple Dandy' has been suggested as a pollenizer for some of them, and the ubiquitous 'Santa Rosa' for Dapple Dandy itself.
Dapple Dandy (Plumcot)-pale greenish yellow skin with distinctive red dots. The firm flesh is creamy white streaked with crimson, and is sweet and highly flavored. It is a very useful pollenizer for other apricot-plum hybrids.(US)
Flavorella (Plumcot) Early season.Flavorella is a medium sized, translucent golden yellow skinned fruit, with a slight red blush and very slight fuzz.It is firm, juicy, and with a very good flavor. The tree is spreading and a pollenizer is required.(US)
Flavor Delight (Aprium®)
Flavor King (Pluot®)-Late season.F.K. has large attractive fruit, with yellowy red sweet, perfumed flesh. The moderately spreading tree is mid to late season blooming, an advantage in areas prone to late spring frosts. A pollenizer is required.(US, NZ)
Flavor Queen (Pluot®)-Mid late season. F.Q. is medium to large sized, has yellow skin and sweet, juicy, yellow flesh of excellent flavor.The fruit hold well on the tree, a useful advantage for extending the season. F.Q. blooms early, so needs a pollenizer that also blooms early. (US)
Flavorich (Pluot®) Late season.The black fruit are large, with orange, sweet flesh of excellent flavor.The moderately spreading tree is mid to late season blooming, an advantage in areas prone to late spring frosts. A pollenizer is required.
Flavor Supreme (Pluot®)-red fleshed, early, and with better flavor than early red fleshed plums.(US)
Flor Ziran 'Black Apricot'-(Plumcot)-dark purple skin, tender, juicy, fine grained orange flesh somewhat suffused with red. The tree is vigorous.(US)
Plum Parfait (Plumcot)-Early season. The medium sized fruit are dark yellow heavily blushed with red, the flesh is dark yellow, streaked red at the freestone pit, and with very good flavor.The tree is naturally relatively small (3M/10 feet) and spreading. It has the twin advantages of being self fertile and low chill.(US)
ASIAN PEAR-Pyrus serotina 'Nashi',
'Misunashi', 'Apple Pear', 'Sand Pear', 'Water Pear'. These
are fruit that look more or less like apples, but have
somewhat pearlike flesh, are extremely juicy, with little
acidity and moderate to high (depending on the variety)
sweetness. Some cultivars have rather coarse and gritty flesh,
hence the name 'Sand Pear'. These cultivars are now not much
grown, for obvious reasons. They can be grown anywhere apples
succeed and where there are no late spring frosts to damage
the blossom. Like the European pear, they are suceptible to
fireblight. Commercial Asian pears can be pretty tasteless.
They flower a little later than stone fruit, and just before
most European pears, altho' European pears whose flowering
period overlaps will pollenize Asian pears.
Shinseiki (US, NZ) is usually recommended as the pollenizer for most cultivars. Early seaon fruit ripen in early to mid summer, mid season are mid summer to late summer, and late season ripen late summer to early autumn.
Shinsui (US, NZ) is early season, small to medium sized, russet brown, juicy, very sweet (often over 15% brix) and moderately gritty. The fruit only keep about 4 days at room temperature, and around 8 days in the fridge. Its best pollenizer is 'Nijisseiki', then 'Shinseiki' or 'Hosui'. The tree is extremely vigorous, and doesn't crop as heavily as some of the other varieties. It's virtue is it's earliness.
Kosui (US, NZ) is early, with greenish gold skin, medium sized, crisp, very sweet, very juicy and tender fleshed. Kosui seems to maintain it's sweetness over a wide range of growing conditions. Kosui can be cross pollenized by, and will pollenize, 'Nijiseiki' and 'Hosui', but it is poorly compatible with 'Shinsui' and vice versa.'Shinseiki' is also an effective pollenizer. It usually sets very heavy crops. Kosui has rather brittle branches, so it should not be planted in a very windy position. The tree is not too vogorous. Kosui is relatively suceptible to disease, and in humid areas it is inclined to have some degree of branch die back.
Hosui (US, NZ) is rather a medium to large golden brown mid season variety with prominent lenticels on the skin. It is highly flavored, sweet and juicy, except in areas with cool summers, when it tends to be acidic and with low sugars. The tree is vigorous, medium to large sized with willowy, drooping branches. It flowers heavily. It may need more winter chill than some parts of the warm temperate areas may provide. Hosui will store for months in the fridge. It has limited self fertility, but sets well with 'Nijisseikeiki', 'Shinseiki', and 'Shinsui'.
Shinseiki ('New Century') (US, NZ) is mature mid season, and is a medium sized yellow-green medium to large smooth skinned fruit.It is firm fleshed, crisp and juicy, but fairly mediocre flavored. The tree is upright and moderately vigorous. Pollenizer are 'Shinsui' and 'Kosui'. Shinseiki is a good pollenizer for other cultivars.
Nijisseiki ('Twentieth Century)(US, NZ) is a late season variety. It is medium sized, yellow-green skinned, just sweet but rather flavorless. 'Kosui', 'Hosui', and 'Shinseiki' and 'Shinsui' will pollinize it. It is one of the most productive varieties of Asian pear. Like 'Hosui', it may need more winter chill than other varieties. The fruit can store for months in the fridge. The tree spurs well, and is easy to manage.
ASIMINA Asimina triloba 'Papaw', 'Pawpaw', 'Asimoyer'. This relatively small (to about 6metres /20 feet) decidous North American tree is the solitary temperate climate member of a family of tropical and subtropical fruiting trees, the best known of which is the 'cherimoya' or 'custard apple'. The British, Australians, and New Zealanders call the tropical papaya fruit 'pawpaw'. The papaya is no relation whatever of Asimina. To avoid this cultural misunderstanding it is best to simply call this fruit 'Asimina'. The fruit are 75mm-125mm/3-5 inches long, green skinned, and carried in clusters of two to three vaguely stumpy banana shaped fruit. The smooth pulp is browny yellow to almost orange, depending on the variety, with a double row of smooth dark brown roughly lima bean sized seeds.The flavor is variable, according to the seed source, but in the best types it is tropical, intense, and sweet. The friuit are an excellent source of vitamin A and C, and it's mineral content is as good or better than many common fruits such as apple, peach or grape. The fruit ripen in autumn, and is highly productive if the right pollinating insects are present This is definitely a tree to consider, but it does come with some difficulties. The fruit is highly desirable, it is unlikely to be commercially available because of it's short shelf life once ripe, the leaves are long, drooping, and elliptical, giving an almost tropical look, the tree is hardy once established, it does well in shade and tolerates sun; but it tends to send out numerous suckers, which while not vigorous-the tree is slow growing-are annoying. The tree must have some shade for the first 3 or four years of its life. Unless you have one of the few self fertile cultivars, you will need to plant two for cross pollination. In some areas, and in some countries, such as New Zealand, there seems to be an absence of the correct pollinating insect-the trees flower well, but set few or no fruit.The very warmest parts of the warm temperate zone, where it starts to tip into almost subtropical, may not have enough winter cold to trigger flowering and subsequent fruiting. Planting grafted plants, or suckers from known varieties is a good idea, as the quality of the fruit is guaranteed. There are many different cultivars include 'Davis'-excellent flavor, large fruit, productive; 'Sunflower'-good flavor and size, partly self fertile; 'Well's Delight'-very large, excellent flavor.
Pawpaw - JJJJ an
Purdue Universities' New Crop Proceedings (USA). The information
is slanted to commercial potential, but it is rich in information on the botany, distribution, nutritional content, propagation,
varieties, and growing conditions for this fruit.
AURORABERRY- Looks like a blackberry, it has large, firm black shiny fruit. Flavour is very good, 'perfumy', clean taste, with none of the sulfur and bitter notes that boysenberries, for example have. It is blander than an olallieberry, and can be acidic if it isn't fully ripe. This is a fairly early bramble, as it ripens in early summer. It is a weaker plant than other brambles, which is an advantage in all areas except wet and humid areas where brambles are subject to disease. All brambles need to be tied up on wires, free standing, against a fence or a wall. This doesn't suit every situation, especially as they really need good sun to ripen the fruit and minimise disease. Not unnaturally, thorned brambles such as this can be a nuisance in small spaces. Otherwise recommended.
AVOCADO-Persea amaericana A little
more frost tender than citrus, and must have either very free
draining soil, or on slow draining soils, large raised beds on
a raised slope or hill with massive amounts of permanent
organic compost mulch (at least 60cm/2 feet deep, but not
piled against the trunk); must also have plenty of sun.
Avocado need shelter from the worst wind. The trees are
handsome, altho' in cool and wet winters they may get a bit of
root rot and look a bit threadbare until warmer drier weather
arrives.A deep organic mulch speeds their recovery. The young
trees need to be covered against frost in the more frost prone
parts of the warm temperate zone, but once they get a bit of
size on they recover well from frost damage as long as the
trees are were healthy in the first place. Avocadoes don't
need spraying, and apart from providing vast organic mulch in
poorer drained areas, only require regular fertilising and
judicious pruning to regulate size. The only caveat is that a
nasty fungal disease, 'Dothiorella canker', affects the trunks
and/or fruits of avocadoes in the wetter coastal parts of
California, and there is little that can be done about it.
The avocado is a large tree, and there are no truly dwarfing roostocks at this time, altho' there is one dwarf variety. Heavy cropping on trees such as 'Reed' and 'Fuerte', plus pruning, can keep the trees relatively small. But even the, you should allow for a 'footprint' of a circle of about 4M/13feet in diameter. The premier hominid food, and home grown can be richer in flavor than shop bought. A grafted tree in good conditions will commence fruiting in about the third year from planting out. In very warm areas the ripening dates may be a month before those listed below. In fact, avocadoes can often be picked earlier than the dates listed, and they will ripen satisfactorily, but they will be insipid, tastless, watery, and lacking richness.
Bacon-excellent pollinator variety for Hass & Reed, relatively cold hardy, good cropper, mid winter to spring fruiter, but mediocre to poor taste, and very vigorous and upright.
Fuerte-fruits in winter and carries through to the end of spring, very high quality fruit, without peer for its season. Small spreading tree (for an avocado), thin skin, can get splits and rots at the base, fruit set without a pollinator is very poor indeed. Hass will pollenize it and vice versa.
Hayes-Fruits from spring to mid summer, a bit earlier than Hass. Very high quality, slightly larger than Hass, thick skin makes it a bit harder to tell when its ripe. Skin colour change is the best guide.
Hass-Excellent quality, ripe from around mid spring to autumn. They are at their home grown best in summer, but commercially, large fruit are picked in winter and early spring and artificially ripened. The skin is pebbled, green turning black, and fairly thick. Starts cropping at an early age. Upright tree.
Reed-ready before Fuerte, from summer (best quality in late summer onward) to early winter but will store on the tree right through winter in some areas. Large round fruit, very high quality. Thick skinned, bit hard to decide when it is ready- stem end flicks off is best test. Reed kicks into fruiting at a fairly young age, and bears very heavily, and like Hass, is fairly upright. It is late flowering, so the flowers are unlikely to be damaged by spring frosts.
Wurtz-A good quality summer avocado, wurtz's main feature is that is only grows to about half the height of most avocados. It has weeping foliage, low vigor, and is sometimes promoted as a dwarf avocado.
Zutano-Ready from mid winter onward, poor quality fruit, and relatively thin skinned. It's virtues are that it is an upright tree, and it is relatively cold and wind tolerant.
Reed, Hass and Fuerte are probably the top selections for home garden avocados in the warm temperate zone. In very hot and
humid areas, it is best to go for thicker skinned varieties to avoid fungal diseases affecting the fruit
Sheet. An excellent fact sheet (prints out
to about 6 printer pages) at the Californian Rare fruit growers
site, covering all aspects of growing avocados,
plus notes on varieties. Written for USA conditions, but widely
Avocado Pollination Notes first rate overview of avocado pollination, written for New Zealand conditions, broadly applicable.
BABACO Carica x heilbornii var. pentagona The babaco is supposed to be a sterile hybrid between two 'mountain papaya' species, Carica pubescens and C.stipulata. The fruits are lemony acidy tasting, very very soft, and extremely juicy. They have no sweetness whatever until about mid summer. At that stage, it is usually only the smaller fruits from the very top of the tree that are left. They are then fairly sweet, fragrant, and pleasant to eat. In the case of babaco, 'smaller' is a relative term. The smaller fruit are about the size of tropical papaya, but fruit can be 30cm/12 inches or more long. The fruit come into bearing the first year after planting, have quite a tropical aspect with their head of lobed leaves atop 2-3 long tall (2-3M/yds) trunks. The tree itself looks very dramatic when it is packed with the large green and yellow fruit. Like all mountain papaya, it is damaged by air frost, and in severe air frosts will be killed. Their shape makes them an ideal candidate for growing in the frost protected areas under the eaves of the house. They are relatively drought tolerant.
Musa acuminata and hybrids of M.acuminata x M.Balbisiana
[= 'M.paradisiaca']. Bananas are a tropical herb, and
it is stretching the limits of their range to fruit them in
the warm temperate areas. But fruit they do, as long as their
needs are met. But the plants are slower to produce, less
robust, the flowers smaller, less bananas are set, and the
most 'tropical blooded' (those with purplish or pinkish
blushes to the leaf petioles) are either slow or unsuccessful.
Variety selection is particularly important. The banana
deserves to be popular for it's productivity in a small space,
it's pleasing landscape qualities, and, of course, it's
delicious fruit.The fact is that the banana is a warm weather
plant. When the cold of winter comes on, it tends to yellow
somewhat, and the leaves get pretty tatty. In a warm winter it
looks pretty good, and ripens any green bunches that had
developed over summer. In a cold winter a bad frost will
severely injure the plant, but it will resprout from the
ground when warm weather returns. Bananas only really suceed
in the warmest part of the warm temperate zone, but if they
are tucked under the eaves of the house, their range can be
It is the ideal crop for the small space gardener, as it makes best use of vertical space, is not too large, crops quickly, and the fruit are concentrated in one place-making for easy bagging against pests.
There is a species, Musa basjoo, the Japanese Fibre Banana, being touted as " the world's cold hardiest banana. It is hardy planted in ground to -3 degrees F. and with protective mulching, down to -20 degrees F". It is from Southern Japan, and is usually grown or the fibre in the leaves, rather than the fruit. The fruit are small and seedy, but edible.
The banana is a
water loving plant, and thrives with plentiful water in dry
spells and regular fertilising. However, as long as it is
fairly well mulched, it will still fruit with less than
adequate water, albeit the fruit may be smaller and less well
filled. Bananas are also greedy feeders-they have to be,
considering the weight of fruit that is regularly removed from
the clump. Spring growth is crucial. Good growth in the early
months makes for larger and better bunches. The point is to
keep the clump well watered and fertilised at this time, using
a complete garden fertiliser that has a bit extra
potash/potassium in it, as bananas need quite a bit of this
element for its fruit. Regular light liming may be needed on
acid soils. In order to keep the resources of the clump
concentrated on fruiting plants, it is best to allow two
plants to fruit and have two replacements coming on. Remove
all other suckers that develop.
The naming and identification of banana varieties can be challenging.
The Bluefield/Gros Michel bananas are the bananas of commerce grown in South America and the Phillipines, and grow very tall-up to 18 ft/5.5m. Being so tall, they are subject to blowing over when they are carrying their very heavy (to 100lb/45kg) bunches, unless propped up.From planting to harvest is about 15 months in this cultivar. Poorly adapted to the warm temperate zone, not recommended.
Williams/Mons Mari/Giant Cavendish is a giant mutation of the cultivar 'Dwarf Cavendish/Chinese'. It is 6½ -13ft/2-4m high, the fruit are similar to 'Gros Michel', and they are ready about 12 months from planting. Both 'Blufield' and 'Williams' are suceptible to the very damaging 'Panama disease' (Fusarium wilt). Fruits as well as any, but it's height makes it suceptible to wind damage, and it is one of the poorer performing cultivars in warm temperate areas. Not recommended.
Dwarf Cavendish/Dwarf Chinese/Chinese a common variety in home gardens because of it's relatively small size (8ft/2.5m) and tolerance to a wide range of conditions, including cool.The bananas are essentially the same as 'Williams'. Suceptible to Panama disease. Needs warmer temperatures than the warm temperate zone can provide.Not recommended.
Dwarf Orinoco-Relatively cold tolerant fairly reliable bearer with quite large ( 6 inch/150mm), very sweet, angular, bright yellow, astringency free, soft fruit with a rather distinct tough central 'core'. In cooler years the fruit can be rather thin, with dense flesh and moderate sweetness, but they are never astringent. Worth a place in a collection.
Sucrier/Pisang Mas/Honey, as it's name suggests, is a very sweet banana; it has small fruit, thin skin, yellowy flesh, and small bunches (up to 28½lb/13kg). The plants are 8-11½ft/2.5-3.5m high, and prefer light shade. Planting to harvest is about 11 months under subtropical conditions. Unfortuneately, this cultivar is not well adapted to cooler temperatures. Not recommended.
Lady Finger/Pome/Brazilian is relatively drought hardy, wind resistant, fast growing, is up to 16ft /5m high, and has short, slightly angular (not plump) fruit which (because it has a little acidity as well as sugar) has a rich true banana flavour, in bunches up to 66lbs/30kg. It has a tendency to have some undeveloped fruit in the bunch. It is suceptible to Panama disease.Planting to harvest is about 14 months under subtropical conditions-longer in warm temperate conditions. Because this variety is both tall and slow to come into fruit when grown in warm temperate areas, it must be regarded as a 'maybe', in spite of it's exceptionally good flavor.
Sugar/Silk/Apple/Hua Moa-10 to15 feet/3-4.5m high, the banana are short and plump, very thin skinned, inclined to split and to tear off and fall when it is very ripe, very white fleshed, dense, sweet, without flouriness or sliminess, but astringent when it isn't fully ripe. It is highly suceptible to Panama disease. It bears fairly reliably in warm temperate areas, and in spite of splitting, it's superior flavor and reliable productivity makes it a recommendation.
Mysore/Misi Luki is up to 15ft/4.5m high, a vigorous plant with purpley pink midribs somewhat tolerant of drought and poor soils, with very tightly packed cylindrical bunches up to 77lb/35kg of slightly yellowish fleshed pleasantly sweet/acid balanced, short and fat attractive bright yellow 'bottle necked' fruit. It is known for the fruit to hold well on the bunch, even at full ripeness.This cultivar is the main commercial banana of India. It is suceptible to Panama disease.
Red Dacca is interesting because the tall (to 18ft/5.5m) bear average sized bunches of large, plump bananas that are washed purply pink when ripe. Planting to harvest is about 18 months for this cultivar under subtropical conditions. It is suceptible to Panama disease. Not recommended.
Pisang Rajah is an important variety in Malaysia and Indonesia.It grows up to 15ft/4.5m, and takes about 16 months from planting to harvesting the up to 55lb/25kg bunches of medium sized sweet bananas. It is relatively tolerant to wind and cooler conditions.
Blue Java is so called beacuse the bunches of immature fruit are covered in a waxy bloom which gives them a blue-green caste. The plants grow to 13ft/4m, planting to harvest is about 14 months under subtropical conditions. The fruit has particularly long stalks, are slightly angular, and have white flesh. Suceptible to Panama disease. Fruits poorly in warm temperate areas, not recommended. Ducasse/Pisang Awak-is a particularly vigorous and hardy banana. It grows up to 16½ft/5m high, and has up to 77lb/35kg bunches of tightly packed, small bananas with a light wax bloom. Harvest is about 17 months after planting in subtropical conditions. This is the most important banana of Thailand. Suceptible to Panama disease.(note: it is somewhat fertile, and if it is pollinated it may have hard, black seeds inside). In spite of the seeds, worth trying.
Goldfinger-released in 1989 this banana was bred in Honduras specifically for the less favorable conditions of subtropical areas, so is definitley worth a try.
Banana varieties and planting instructions JJJJ About 26 edible varieties are
tabularly described with a photo of the fruit in the 'Aloha
The best one to grow may simply be your friends or neighbours. If you come across a banana you like, or it's owner recommends, simply get a spade and dig out a sucker. With plenty of water in the hot weather, applying fertiliser regularly , and starting with big healthy suckers it is possible to cut your first bunch within two years of planting. Once a clump is established, there will virtually always be one or two stems fruiting. Once fruited, the stem never flowers again, and needs to be cut down. It makes good mulch for the clump.
Banana sap dripping from a freshly cut stem or fruit stalk will stain clothes, so be careful. Cut the bunch when the first few fruits show the first sign of color (bunches can be cut when the fruit are green but the fruit must be 'plump' to have good flavor when they ripen up). They will ripen up very quickly once hung up inside in a warm, light place, and have very good flavor. Winter maturing bunches - fairly typical for bananas in the warm temperate zone - take as much as three weeks longer to ripen if they are stored in a cool dark place, and their flavor is often very poor.
BLACK CURRANT- see 'Currants'
BLACK SAPOTE Diospyros digyna- 'Chocolate
Pudding Tree', 'Black Persimmon'. A handsome tree with dark
green leathery leaves against black barked branchlets. Plants
will flower and set fruit if they are grown in warm, totally
frost protected situations, or if the winter has been
unseasonably warm. The fruit are supposed to be about the size
of a very large apple, but under warm temperate conditions
they are much smaller, possibly due to poor pollination, and
may only be the size of a plum. In the warm temperate area
they remain a collectors item, rather than a useful cropping
plant. Black spotes are a relative of the persimmon, and the
flesh is similar in texture to a soft ripe persimmon fruit-
rather jelly like and soft. The flesh is chocolate colored,
and some claim it has the appearance and the texture of
chocolate pudding. The taste is moderately sweet, with no
great depth of flavor. The fruit retain their green color, but
soften when ripe, and should then be picked and left to become
very soft before eating. Trees can bear as early as three
years from planting under the most ideal conditions. Flowering
is in autumn, and fruit size and mature in late winter /early
spring. Given a large pot, these plants make a handsome patio
There is a picture of the fruit at the 'Garden of delight ' web site
BLACKBERRIES Rubus ursinus-The thorny
wild blackberry has the most exquisite sweetness and floral
flavor. It is invasive, spreading, trailing, painfully thorny
and unattractive. The cultivated blackberry usually has stout,
usually semi erect, easily managed canes that can be trained
to a fence or wall, very attractive large flowers, is
non-invasive, and nearly all are mainly or entirely thornless;
but the fruit, while much larger than it's wild progenitor,
very often lack sweetness and flavor. Black berries start into
bearing virtually the year after they are planted. Like most
brambles, they are bird magnets, and realistically, have to be
netted.One of the advantages of the blackberry is that
tolerates partial shade. They are reasonable easy to grow,
tolerating most soils, altho sandy soils will have to be
heavily mulched to keep it moist. In wet and humid areas it
can be subject to fungal diseases. Erect growing varieties
have the best disease resistance. pruning is easy, immediately
after harvest simply remove the canes that have just fruited
and cut out any new canes that seem weak. Keep only about 8
new canes a plant. They can then be tied in tiers along your
wires or tied against a wall in a fan shape. In the summer the
new canes do need to have their ends cut off at about 2.4M/8
feet, to promote flowering laterals for the following spring.
These laterals can have excessive length pruned off (down to
about 30cm/12inches) in winter to make them easier to net, if
you want. With many brambles-especially vigorous trailing
types like boysenberry-it is a good idea to pick up the new
canes as they grow over spring and early summer and
temporararily tie them to a wire to keep them off the ground
and stop tip rooting. With erect and stout caned blackberries
this is not really necessary. Blackberries need little
fertilser beyond some nitrogen.
Waldo-is very early, crops reasonably, has very good flavor, and is not too vigorous, but is thorny.(UK)
Ashton cross-is mid season, heavy cropping, very good flavor, but thorny.
Loch Ness-early to mid season, heavy cropping, desirable semi-erect habit thornless traits, flavor good (for a thornless).(UK)
Thornfree-late fruiting, very productive, poor tasting fruit, subject to fungal disease in wet and humid areas. (US, NZ)
Other erect blackberries include Darrow, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Comanche, and Shawnee (US)
BLUEBERRY Vaccinium ashei, V. australe,
V.corymbosum-Fresh blueberries of the most flavorsome
varieties are a delightful experience; run of the mill
varieties are not worth bothering with. But-birds love
blueberries-they must be netted, or you will get very little.
In addition, they are rigorously demanding in soil type-either
it is a naturally highly acidic soil, or the soil will have to
be extensively amended with peat, acidifying agents such as
sulfur, and/or acidifying plant material such as pine needles
added as a mulch. Alternatively, container mixes for acid
loving plants can be used. Blueberries have a fibrous root
system, and will not tolerate the soil drying out. Conversely,
the soil needs to be reasonably well drained. Heavy
incorporations of peat to either sandy soil or to heavy soil
will help fix drying out in the one case, and poor aeration
and drainage in the other.
There are two main types of blueberry-'highbush', V.australe and V.corymbosum; and 'rabbiteye', V.ashei.
The highbush types grow to about 1.8M/6 feet, and are entirely self fertile. They need some winter chill, and fruit poorly in the warmest parts of the warm temperate zone. The fruit mature from early to mid summer.
Rabbiteye types are taller plants, are more tolerant of heavier and less acid soils, need less winter chill to flower well, and tolerate heat and drought better than the highbush types. Their fruit follows on the highbush types, maturing from around mid through to late summer. These are the types best adapted to the warmer parts of warm temperate areas. On the minus side, they are self infertile, so two varieties are needed for cross pollination, the berries are a little smaller, and the flesh texture perhaps a little grainy.
Providing it's somewhat exacting requirements are met, you can expect light crops from your bush in the first few years, building to around 2.25kg/5lbs by the fifth year, and 4 or 5 kgs/approx.10lb when the bush is mature. Pruning is not needed for the first 3 or 4 years, and is simple, a matter of removing about a quarter of the very oldest stems every year. Blueberries have variable autumn colors, depending on the cultivar. Some are yellow, some orange, and some red.Those with the strongest autumn colors have strong landscape value. Blueberries flower early in spring (don't plant them in a frost pocket or you won't get fruit), and the pendant white tubular flowers are very pretty.
Highbush Blueberry Varieties-
Earliblue-Early season. Large berries and good autumn color, rather low yeilds.(US, UK, NZ)
Bluecrop-Early season. Large berries, highly productive, orange and red autumn colors.(US, UK, NZ)
Nui-Early season. Large berries, moderately productive, very large fruit, good flavor, sometimes has a bonus light autumn crop.(NZ)
Stanley-Early to mid season. Medium sized berry, moderate yeilds, excellent flavor.(US, UK, NZ)
Berkley-Mid season. open and spreading bush. Very productive of very large berries. Relatively high chill requirement.(US, UK, NZ)
Herbert-Late season. Smaller bush, heavy cropper, very large fruit, one of the best tasting blueberries, unremarkable autumn colors.(US, UK, NZ)
Colville-late season. Large fruit on a productive, vigorous bush. Holds it's fruit well without dropping them near maturity.(US, UK, NZ)
Rabbiteye Blueberry Varietie-
Climax-performs well in warm areas, producing heavy yeilds of good sized fruit.(US, NZ)
Delite-Mid season. Very vigorous (more than 2M/6ft 6inches), high yeilding and very good flavor.(US, NZ)
Walker-Mid season. In good years it is a particulalry sweet blueberry.(US, NZ)
Woodard-Mid to late season. The medium sized rather spreading bushes are particularly well adapted to the warmer areas. Woodard is large (for a rabbiteye, anyway), light blue, and has good flavor. (US, NZ)
requirements JJJ Written
by The Hort and Food Research Institute of New Zealand
Ltd, this useful page covers the nutrient requirements, what
sort of fertilisers are useful, nutrient disorders, and how to
correct them. Commercially oriented, but still good for the home
BOYSENBERRY The boysenberry is a raspberry-blackberry hybrid with 'Himalayan Giant' blackberry being one parent. The boysenberry is acid, but sweetens if left to darken and become plump and turgid, at which point they fall off the vine at a gentle pull. However, boysenberries still have a very slight bitter and sulfurous note even when fully ripe. They start fruiting in very early summer and have a short picking season. The thornless variety is the best one to grow-altho it should properly be described as 'semi-thornless'. One of the virtues of the boysenberry is that it is drought tolerant, relative to other berry fruit, and thrives on lighter free draining soils, where others fail. The boysenberry tolerates a wide range of soils. Boysenberries are not usually found in the marketplace as they are very soft when ripe, so if you want to eat fresh fruit you will have to grow them yourself. Boysenberries need a wire or fence to grow on, they need to be sprayed against fungus diseases unless you have a fairly dry climate, and they must be netted against birds if you are to harvest fully vine ripened fruit. Pruning is as for blackberry.
CARISSACarissa macrocarpa 'Natal Plum' A very useful plant for the home food garden, because the small bushy and thorny shrub has attractive fragrant white flowers, won't form massive roots that can damage paved areas, and because it will remain fruitful even when trimmed to fit into a narrow space, such as a border. The small roundish fruit are about an inch/2.5cm wide and a bit more long. They are bright red streaked with a darker red ground color. The fruit are variable, but most are mild, somewhat sweet, sometimes slightly astringent, with small seeds in the centre and exude a harmless latex when cut. They have about the same vitamin C content as an orange.
CASANASolanum (Cyphomandra) casana This plant is straight out of the wilds of the Andes and has never been selected or improved in any way.Casana is a single stemmed tree ( a close relative of the tamarillo) with a small canopy of very large hairy heart shaped leaves at about 2.4M/8 feet. Large numbers of pointed oval 75mm/3 inch dull yellow fruit are carried in small bunches along the branches. The fruit are variable, according to the seed source, some are seedy, with strong 'off flavors' and rather dry pulp, others are moderately sweet, delicately perfumed flavored but with a slightly 'tinny' backtaste, and with juicy pulp. The best are pleasant to eat as a fresh fruit. The plants are dramatic looking when they have conditions they like. The soil must be well drained, as they are very intolerant of poor drainage. The plants are damaged by frost. It is only suited to the warmer parts of the warm temperate zone. It has the unique distinction of not just growing well in moderate shade, but of growing best in moderate shade, such as the shady side of the house. It is a greedy feeder on organic matter, and requires constant, even moisture. The plants will fruit in the second year if grown well, but are short lived-about 6 years at best. Casana will grow well in cold conditions but not frosty conditions. It is unlikely to do well in areas with very high summer temperatures (it is from the high Andean mist forests).
CASIMIROA Casimiroa edulis- 'Ice
cream fruit'. Related to citrus, but the fruit flesh is smooth
and fibreless and more akin to avocado flesh without the
oiliness. The fruit are variable, from about apple size
upwards, very sweet, and with very large citrus-like 'pips'
inside. There is anything from one to five of these very large
seeds in the fruit. Some cultivars are slightly bitter just
under the skin, and some have a particularly rich almost
'butterscotch' flavor. The fruit are nutritious, with good
levels of vitamins A and C. The fruit are rarely available
commercially, because the fruit just don't keep. The skin is
very thin, and on a very ripe fruit it will virtually rub off.
The flesh is very easily bruised when it is ripe. This fruit
is quite unique in it's combination of sweetness (15-20%
sugars), unusual texture, and good flavor. The deseeded fruit
freeze well, and make a most excellent smoothee milkshake.
Freezing is a useful device, because they fruit in autumn
(some extend into winter), and well grown trees produce
prodigous amounts of fruit, which can create a mess if you
can't eat or give them away fast enough. Less frost
hardy than citrus. Casimiroas must have adequate water in
summer to prevent fruit drop Any reasonably well drained
soil will grow casimiroas. The tree tends to make rather long
droopy lank growth, but this can be cut back closer to the
trunk to encourage branching, and tipping soft new growth
regularly makes a much more compact and branchy tree as well.
Prune them after fruiting. They make a rather large tree (some
will grow to 10M/33 feet or more across), and the strong roots
can lift pavers and block drains if they are planted too close
to the house. They are about the same size as avocado tree.
The chief problem is bird damage, but this can largely be
avoided by picking the fruit when firm when birds don't
trouble them. Picking the right time to harvest the fruit
takes some experience. Sometimes there is a slight shift to a
yellowish tone to the normally green fruit. Picked too soon,
and the fruit take several weeks to soften, and are rubbery
and inedible. Picked at the correct time and the fruit should
soften in 2-5 days and be fantastic. Some varieties of
casimiroa are smaller than others, but no attention has been
paid to selecting dwarfing roostocks for these trees, altho'
it would almost certainly be possible to do so.
Pike-a small, well branched, almost weeping tree, Pike is well suited to the home garden because of it's compact size
Fernie-another naturally small tree (around 3M/10feet after 10 years) with good flavored fruit and often only 1 seed.
Lomita-quite large fruit, the tree remains relatively small, the fruit have good flavor, and, unusually, will store for up to 2 weeks off the tree.
Mac's Golden-the fruit are large, the flesh yellow and with a particularly rich flavor.
Reinikie Commercial-particularly good sweetness and flavor, R.C. has yellow flesh and yellow skin when ripe, so it is easier to judge when to pick it, apart from anything else. It may need warmer temperatures at flowering than other cultivars.
CHERIMOYA- Annona cherimola A South
American small tree that bears medium to very large
bluntly heart shaped green fruit from mid winter to spring
(depending on variety). The flesh is soft, cream or white,
juicy, very sweet and complexly flavored. It is without a
doubt one of the most delicious fruits there are. It has
numerous bean sized smooth shiny black/brown seeds embedded in
the flesh. Trees and fruit are damaged by air frosts, but not
ground frosts. More tender than the casimiroa.The tree is
small, amenable to severe pruning, and can be relatively
easily espaliered. The trees are happy in light shade. The
trees can also be grown as a large bush by repeatedly cutting
back the vigorous summer shoots and stripping the tops of the
pruned branches of their leaves (the leaf buds are unusual in
that they are hidden underneath the leaf stalk, which has to
be removed to allow the bud to grow out). However, this may
have to be done regularly over summer, as the trees are
vigorous growers-and some cultivars, such as 'Bronceada', are
very vigorous. Cherimoyas are attractive trees in full growth
over summer, with quite large large leaves. However, they lose
their leaves progressively over springtime, at which time they
look quite tatty. If the trees are pruned, they become quite
spreading, and as the wood is brittle, subject to branch
breakage. The worst pests are thrips insects causing an
unsightly silvering on the leaves, and wood boring/girdling
insects, which seem to be attracted to cherimoyas in
particular. They need good drainage, and like avocado, are
subject to rootrot. A thick organic mulch helps in marginal
soils. The fruit are easily damaged by frost, the skin
becoming blackened and splitting. They also sunburn easily.
The trees are self fruitful, but often set poorly due to the
lack of the correct pollinating insect. Fruit set and size is
increased dramatically if you can be bothered hand pollinating
the rather insignificant greeny bronze flowers. Most people
use a childs paintbrush to do the work.
A grafted tree should start fruiting within 2 or 3 years of planting out. Any grafted tree will have lovely fruit. Some cultivars have smoother flesh than others, or have a slightly resinous taste, or the flesh is whiter-but the difference is between 'delightful' and 'fantastic', so it doesn't matter. Cherimoyas are picked while still firm-usually when the green skin takes on a very slight yellowish tinge. They will be ripen in the fruit bowl about 4 days from picking.
Bronceada-extremely vigorous trees that must be pruned or their branches tend to break. The fruit are very large, and of fine flavor.(NZ)
Burton's Favorite-a medium sized fruit with pure white very smooth flesh and superb flavor (NZ)
Pierce-vigorous tree, sets very good quality fruit without hand pollination.(US)
fact sheet An
review of everything you need to know about growing cherimoya in
the home garden, at the California Rare Fruits growers
Organisation site. Covers botany, culture, brief notes on 16
varieties, further reading, and more. Written for Californian
conditions, but widely applicable. Highly recommended.
Growing Ceriman - from the Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University Site, an extract from Julia Morton's Book 'Fruits of warm climates'. Covers Description, Origin and Distribution, varieties, suitable climates and soils, propagation, culture, harvesting, pests and diseases and more. Concise, informative. 3 good photos of fruit
CHERRYPrunus avium-. Bird theft is problematical, but cherries are easy care and can be very productive of premium taste treats. Large trees. Usually need two to tango. In some areas, they are suceptible to brown rot, which badly damages the fruit. In humid, maritime areas, cracking after rain can be a big problem, most particularly in the firmer varieties, rather than the softer types. Because cherries mature early in the fruit season, they can also be damaged by hail. Sweet cherries need about 1000 hours of winter chilling.'Bing', 'Lambert', and 'Napoleon' have the longest chilling requirement, and are not suited to the wtz as a consequence. Stella-somewhat self fertile, and probably better adapted to warmer areas than most temperate cultivars. Birds are a real problem, and until a reliable dwarfing rootstock is found, the best the home gardener can do is to grow cherries trained as a fan against a wall, and then net them. This requires a high degree of skill, effort, and dedication. So most of us will either chose another fruit, or enjoy the blossoms without high expectations of beating the birds to the fruit. Tangshe -self fertile, fruits very well in warm areas, fruit are pleasant but not as good as temperate cultivars. With the exception of 'Stella' and 'Compact Stella', all sweet cherries need a pollinator to bear well. The 'Stellas' seem well to flower quite well in thee warmer parts of the wtz. Generally, dark colored varieties will pollenize dark varieties, and light colored varieties pollenize light varieties. Sour (pie) cherries bloom later than sweet cherries and bear heavily without a pollinator. For cool summers and mild winter areas, try Van, Angela, Hardy Giant, Emperor Francis
CHESTNUT- see 'Nut, Chestnut'
CHILEAN CRANBERRY- (Myrtus ugni)- highly recommended - knee high little shrub that bears heaps of sweet, resinous, aromatic fruit, about blueberry size or less. Nothing quite like it, a late summer treat. Frost hardy, easy to grow, productive. It is never found in the markets and is probably chock full of health promoting substances.
CultureJJJ A brief fact sheet
on the Chilean cranberry, which this nursery insists on calling
the Chilean 'guava'
CHINESE PEAR- see 'Asian Pear'
CITRUS- listed under their fruit type, e.g.'grapefruit', 'kumquat', 'lemon', 'lemonade', 'lime', 'orange', 'mandarin', 'tangelo', 'tangor' etc.
CHOKECHERRY-Aronia sp. A native of northeast USA, this small deciduous shrub is grown commercially in Northern Europe for the health giving (supposedly) properties of the mild and pleasant, somewhat blueberry like berries. The foliage is very ornamental in autumn. Unusual and hard to find, if you are a health freak, this is an easy grow plant. Requires two for cross pollination and berry set.
CRANBERRY- Vaccinium macrocarpon These small wiry stemmed bog plants live in an acid peaty soil and produce oval approximately grape sized sour red fruit. The soil should be prepared as for blueberries but even more acidic organic and wetter. This can be arranged by digging a hole and lining it with plastic to create an artificial bog. Fill the lined hole with peat or a mixture of peat and lime free soil, and plant your cranberry in that. Mulch heavily with peat. You should obtain a yield from a well grown bed of about 0.5kg per square metre/1 Ib per square yard. Cranberries don't need pruning, but their rambling wiry stems may need cutting back every now and then. Cranberries keep very well in the refrigerator- up to two months-so the fruit can be progressively stored as they ripen over summer. Cranberries form a low mat, and so can be incorporated in borders or raised gardens, and to that extent are well suited to small space gardening. Their delicate little pink spring flowers are charming, and the fruit attractive, they require no pollinator, seem to fruit satisfactorily in warm temperate areas (although their may be cultivar differences), and seem to be unaffected by pests and diseases. The only question that remains is why grow the acid little devils, when you can buy canned cranberries and cranberry juice quite cheaply?
CURRANTS- Easy to grow, packed full of
vitamins, don't take up much space- as long as pollination is
good and you throw a net over to keep the birds off, you'll
Black currant (Ribes nigrum)-There is quite a lot going for the black currant. It is a 'natural tonic in a berry' due to it's high vitamin content, it is more tolerant of wet soil than most other berry fruit, they are more adaptable to soil acidity, the bushes are small, they bear heavily in suitable climates (4.5kg /IOlb is normal for a healthy well grown bush), they come into bearing within two years of planting, they are not as attractive to birds as other berry fruit such as raspberries, and they are easy to prune (cut off a third of the shoots every winter at about 50mm/2 inches from the soil level-the oldest shoots). On the down side, they are early bloomers, and therefore subject to damage in frost pockets, they are not particularly attractive looking plants, the fruit are only sweet enough to eat as a fresh fruit if they are planted in ther full sun. They can be affected by a serious disease called 'reversion disease', but this is just bad luck. In the warmest part of the warm temperate areas black currants will usually fail to fruit through lack of winter chill.
White currant (R.sylvestre)-uncommon, similar to the black, but not! (black, that is). The comments under 'Red Currants' applies equally to white currants.
Red currant (R.rubrum)-the best selection for warmer areas, with cvs. such as 'Amgot' producing mightily. Red currants produce a lot of fruit (4.5kg /IOlb is normal for a healthy well grown bush), and unlike blackcurrants, can be pruned into particular shapes, such as cordons (yeilding around 0.5-1kg/1-2lb) or fans. Red currants are not subject to reversion disease. Red currants are easy to prune-in winter cut laterals back to one bud to encourage fruiting spurs, and cut out branches that have been fruiting for three years or so to allow a continuing growth of younger branches. The long 'strigs' of bright red shiny little fruit is attractive in itself, and fan or cordoned bushes have architectural landscape value.
DATE - A Mediterranean climate palm, altho' it will grow well in the warmer parts of the warm temperate zone - without fruiting. Takes two to tango, not really a proposition for the size of plant and leangth of time to fruiting.
Dates - JJJJ from
Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University
Site, an extract from Julia Morton's Book 'Fruits of warm
climates'. Covers Description, Origin and Distribution,
varieties, suitable climates and soils, propagation, culture,
harvesting, pests and diseases and more. Concise, informative. 4
good photos of fruit and the palm.
ELDERBERRY Sambucus canadensis- These stemmy bushes produce heaps of small black berries with a slightly soapy taste, whose main use seems to be to feed the birds. The big panicles of creamy ethereal flowers are very attractive in spring. The shrub/bushes have a habit of sending up suckers further out from the base of the plant, especially if the roots are cut at any time.
Acca seillowiana- At least as frost hardy as
citrus, perhaps more so. Clippable into a hedge or standard,
excellent grey backdrop plant, superb fruit in Autumn, fairly
frost tolerant. Every garden should have two. Two, because
apart from 'Unique', they require cross pollination. Feijoas
are harvested in late autumn and early winter - a time when
fruit buyers don't have a lot of choice, as stonefruit is
finished and local citrus hasn't really started. The fruit are
juicy sweet, excellent flavor, great eating fresh, and can be
canned/bottled. They don't travel or store well, so home
garden fruit are far superior. Some fruit sold in stores lack
sufficient pulp cavity, and have very thick skin. Such
varieties can be avoided by growing your own. Grafted or
cutting grown plants will bear within three years, given good
care. Seedlings take 5 years or more. Feijoaas are useful
because they will bear well even in partial shade.
Unique- Early, self fertile, and productive, this is a feijoa of choice for the small space garden, even altho' the flavor is unexceptional. NZ
Coolidge-said to be self fertile, small fruit. US
Andre-said to be self fertile US
Gemini-Very nice flavor. It is sweet, with little acid. The overall rating is very good. The fruit are mostly very odd looking-longish, with a funny bulbous protuberance at the blossom end.NZ
Apollo -Very good flavor, a nice sugar acid balance, this variety rates as one of the best. The fruit are longish, somewhat torpedo shaped, as if they are not properly filled out at the stem end. Some, presumably better pollinated, are well filled out and oval.NZ
Ficus carica- The perfect fig- soft, sweet,
sticky, flavorsome- comes from fruit almost fully tree ripened
(picked a day or two before perfection & allowed to fully
ripen indoors). Some fig trees can be pruned hard to keep them
nettable and very small. Birds are a major problem, so the
tree must be netted, or individual fruits bagged, if you are
to get any fruit. Many varieties of fig have been introduced
into the United States and Australiasia over the years since
colonisation. Most were inferior, a few are stunning. Because
figs don't handle or store well, they are difficult to market
commercially. Therefore the home gardener has the advantage of
chosing any variety, no matter how soft, and maturing it on
the tree to the point of perfection. Figs ripen in late
summer/autumn. Some varieties have an early ('Breba') crop,
followed by a crop in late summer. In mild summer areas the
breba crop may be all that matures. Pruning to keep the tree
small often cuts off the breba crop anyway. Apart from the
birds, the biggest challenge with figs is pruning them hard
enough to keep the size down without losing too much fruiting
wood, and dealing to the inevitable basal suckering. Figs
won't tolerate waterlogging, and lengthy drying out of the
soil causes the fruit to drop or become dry.
Nomenclature of figs is muddled. Some cultivars have been mis-named, or re-named. Rely on a knowledgeable nurseryperson to sell you a fig adapted to your area, or take a cutting from a local high quality tree. The easiest care figs are the common fig varieties. One group of figs-'Smyrna' figs- only fruits if it is pollinated by a tiny wasp carrying pollen from another special kind of fig, the inedible 'Caprifig'. This makes fruiting for this type uncertain in a home garden situation, so cultivars from the smyrna group are best avoided.In wet and humid areas it is common for figs to ferment on the tree because water gets in the 'eye' at the base of the fruit. In these ares it is wise to seek out a variety with a closed eye
Brown Turkey- large, squat, transluscentie-amber flesh, greenish brown with a basal purple blush. Not a great deal of flavor in cool conditions, but very good when the season is warm. Has the important advantage of being able to be pruned very hard (US NZ AU)
Celeste-'Malta', 'Celestial'. One of the earliest figs, ready about mid summer onward, celeste is small, purplish brown, covered in a heavy bloom, has a closed eye, and is very sweet. Well adapted to moderate summer areas.(US NZ)
Excel-'Kadota hybrid'. A roundish medium sized yellowish green skinned fig with amber flesh with a rich, sweet flavor.Needs summer heat.(US)
Black mission-a purplish black fig with pink flesh, B.M. is medium to large, pear shaped, and has a breba crop in early summer followed by an early autumn crop if there is enough heat.(US)
Figs - an
outstanding database of fig cultivars, fruit description,
synonyms, and more.
GOOSEBERRY Ribes uva-crispa. Gooseberies are usually an acid fruit (although when fully bush ripened some are very mild and good eating out of hand), and usually used for pies (originally they were used in sauces served with goose-the acidity was a counterpoint to the fattiness of the goose). The berries can be green, greenish yellow, yellow, pink, or red, smooth or with fine hairs. Gooseberries don't fruit very well in warm temperate areas, as there is often not enough cold to fulfill their winter chilling needs. Some varieties need less chilling than others, so fruiting is possible, especially at the cooler end of the warm temperate zone spectrum. You are also dealing with a very thorny plant (There are a few varieties with greatly reduced thorniness). Grown as a bush (preferably on a single stem), the plant it about 5feet/1.5m high and wide. Gooseberries will grow well on most soils, provided they are not too wet, and there is plenty of organic matter incorporated in the soil. Gooseberries need a lot of potassium, so the fertiliser you use should be high in 'potash', or give additional potassium in winter ( about 1oz/square yard; 34gms/square metre) Fruit laden branches can break if grown in a windy situation, so they either need a bit of shelter, or grow them as cordons. Single cordons can be grown 12 inches/30cm apart. The birds will eat your gooseberries unless you drape a net over the plants as they ripen. In temperate areas, bushes yeild about 8lb/3.5kg and will keep fruiting for 20 years or more; a single cordon yeilds about I-21b/0.5- 1 kg . Expect less and some poor fruiting years in the warm temperate zone.In late summer prune all the laterals back to about 5 leaves, but don't prune the leaders. In winter cut the main leaders in half at an inward pointing bud or lateral (this helps overcome the gooseberries tendency to droop) 'Glendale', a vigorous red fruited form, is better adapted to warmer areas than most.
Grape CultivarsJJJJ A list of 134 grape varieties in tabular form, organised to inform on specific attributes such as disease resistance, primary use, and other facets of interest to the home gardener.
GRAPEFRUIT Citrus grandis- Grapefruit need more heat than oranges, and they generally don't perform well in the warm temperate zone except for the very hot long summer areas. Grapefruit are available almost year round from the supermarkets, so there seems little point for trying to grow grapefruit out of the hot climatic areas that they do so well in. The rootstock that the grapefruit is grafted onto has an influence on the trees resistance to virus diseases, root damaging nematodes, overthick skin, and poor soil conditions such as high calcium levels, or poor drainage. Your nurseryperson should be able to guide you to select the best roostock for your local area. Provide adequate water in dry spells, feed them a little and regularly, and you will harvest very good fruit.
Psidium guajava 'Tropical Guava' - The small tree
comes into bearing within a few years of planting out, it has
an attractive trunk and leaves, there are purple leafed forms,
it is trimmable, it makes a good hedge, and the flowers are
quite attractive. It is hardy, and undemanding as to
soil.There is a wide variety of fruit shapes and sizes to
chose from when selecting a guava variety. The best are the
large, yellow skinned, pink fleshed fruit. They are all an
excellent source of vitamin C, with a minimum of 40mg/100grams
of fruit, and a lot of variation up from this baseline
according to the variety. Guavas must have heat, and a fairly
mild, if not hot, winter. This makes them a worthwhile
fruiting propostion only in the very warmest and most frost
protected parts of the warm temperate zone. Fruit in the
merely warm parts of the wtz are resinous, never color well,
and lack sugar. Varieties available include Hong Kong Pink,
Philippine White, Pear, Mexican Cream, Ruby, Indian Red, and
Philippine-yellow skin, white, soft flesh, sweet. Medium/large fruit.
Mexican Cream-bright yellow skin, cream, soft flesh. Large pear shaped fruit.
Ruby-X -Green skin, with pink, soft, flesh. Medium sized fruit.
Thai Maroon-Deep maroon skin, deep maroon flesh. The tree has purple leaves. Medium/large fruit.
GUAVA, CATTLEY, RED Psidium Cattleianum 'Red guava', 'Strawberry guava' 'Purple guava'- A very useful plant for the home food garden, because it is a small bushy tree and won't form massive roots that can damage paved areas, and because it will remain fruitful even when trimmed to fit into a narrow space, such as a border. The trees are self fruitful, the small creamy flowers while not showy are not unattractive, it is cold hardy and relatively drought tolerant. Cattley Guavas will start fruiting about the second year of planting out. Each about 8 gram berry contains more than 3.2 mg vitamin C. The fruit are about grapesized, sweet, slightly resinous and aromatic. Fully ripe fruit turn deep purple, and soon drop from the bush. The bushes are exceedingly productive, and become handsome upright small trees. They require little pruning, and can be shaped for convenience. The fruit are usually ripe in autumn.
GUAVA, CATTLEY, YELLOW Psidium Cattleianum var.lucidum 'Yellow guava'- A shrubby tree, often smaller than the cattley guava, with similar, but deep yellow fruit. Like the red cattley guava, a very useful plant for the home food garden, because it is a small bushy tree and won't form massive roots that can damage paved areas, and because it will remain fruitful even when trimmed to fit into a narrow space, such as a border. And like the red cattley, as rich a source of vitamin C. The flavor is similar, altho perhaps not as complex. Fruiting is as for the red cattley guava.
GUAVA, COSTA RICAN Psidium friedrichsthalianum 'Cos guava'- A rather frost and cold tender species of guava with samll acid fruit that performs very poorly in even the warmest parts of warm temperate areas. Strictly for collectors.
HARDY KIWIFRUIT-Actinidia arguta,
A.kolomikta, A.melanadra, A.purpurea, A.eriantha and
others. 'Tara berries', 'Baby kiwifruit'. There have
been many different 'wild', unimproved but still edible,
species of kiwifruit introduced to the West from China and
Russia over the last fifteen years or so, altho' suprisingly,
very few are available. They vary in edibility from
'famine-only food' to very nice, with most species being very
nice-sweet, sometimes fragrant, usually soft green
fleshed, and pleasant. A.eriantha has astounding
levels of vitamin C, but unfortueatley is unpalatable, being
peppery tasting. However, most species have very good levels
of vitamin C. Some species are very cold hardy and thus
recommended for temperate areas, but paradoxically, some
(especially A.arguta) have exceptionally good bud
break in spring-better, in fact, than their much larger warm
temperate cousin the 'kiwi', and so are very successful in
this climatic area. The vines are remarably free of disease,
and the green fruit seem to be ignored by birds-presumably on
the basis that they look unripe. Their fruit is generally from
cherry to about large grape size, depending on species,
variety, and how well pollinated the flower was. The fruit are
completely smooth, and the skin is edible, unlike the
commercial 'kiwi'. The fruit of A.arguta is sometimes
marketed, but is still not readily available. These vines need
reasonable drainage and wires to grow along or a pergola to
grow over. They do need to be pruned every year, and A.arguta,
in particular, becomes a dense mass if it isn't dealt to.
Pruning is easy, pruning back to two buds at the base of the
current seasons growth when the plant is dormant. A few
cultivars are self fertile, but others must have a male plant
for pollination (the sexes are on different plants). The fruit
of self fertile varieties are larger in the prescence of a
A.kolomikta-'Kishmish'. Does best in light shade, which makes it a particularly valuable plant. After about 4 years, the leaves of some plants may develop a natural purple and cream leaf variagation, which is quite attractive. The A.kolomikta cultivar 'Ananasaya' ('pineapple') comes into bearing early and bears very well.
Actinidia arguta-'Bowerberry', and is sometimes called the 'Tara berry'; and this latter name may well end up as the generic name for all the small fruited hardy kiwifruit species. The fruit are one of the largest of the Tara berries. The vines are vigorous, and prefer full sun, altho' they will tolerate some shade, and is very widely adapted altho' it is not regarded as being as freeze tolerant as A.kolomikta. Allow about 3-5M/10-16 feet for the vines to run on. The vine can be tipped and summer pruned to keep it in bounds.'Issai' (US CAN) is said to be self fertile, precocious, and late ripening, 'Noel' is said to be particulaly large and productive (NZ), 'Geneva'(CAN) is early maturing
Actinidia arguta x actinidia species- 'Red Princess' (CAN) is a delicate looking, highly ornamental vine which bears green fruit with a reddish blush and reddish tinge to the flesh. The fruit drop readily as they approach maturity, which is a useful attribute for the home gardener. 'MSU' (CAN) has exceptionally large fruit (2-3 inches/50-75mm long) and is slower to come into bearing than most and not as productive. 'Ken's Red' (NZ CAN) is very similar to an arguta fruit, but with a red blush and dull reddish flesh.
? A. chinensis - 'Jia' This is from seed from China, grown at the Pacific Agri-Research Centre at British Columbia, in Canada. It appears to be A. chinensis; but in New Zealand A. chinesis are considered prone to late frost damage, so this variety may be a breakthrough for areas prone to occaissional late frost. More information is needed.
Hardy Kiwifruit varieties JJJJ A page with general information on adaptation and culture, then brief to good notes on four species and 19 cultivars of hardy kiwi. From Tripplebrook Farm in USA, which sells plants of the varieties described. Particulalry useful for cultivars of the Russian A. kolomikta.
Actinidia deliciosa history and culture JJJJ Tremendous amounts of information on the introduction of the kiwifruit to the West. It includes sound climatic, cultural, soil, propogation, and pollination details. The notes on Chinese cultivars are predominantly for the yellow fleshed, smooth skinned, closely related species Actinidia chinensis.
HILDABERRY Across between the tayberry and the boysenberry. Early season. The berry is very large, red, and the flavor has been described as 'good', whatever that means. The plants are thorny and vigorous. We have found no other details on this bramble, but suppose it is grown the same way as a blackberry
JABOTICABA Myciaria cauliflora- This
is a small tree which bears grape sized purplish black fruit
directly on the trunk and large branches. The fruit are juicy
and similar to grapes in taste. The tree is very slow growing
indeed, and may take many years to start bearing. In the warm
temperate areas it normally has one heavy crop a year, in late
autumn/early winter. In warmer conditions, the jaboticaba may
fruit twice a year. The small leafed trees are not
unattractive-altho' the foliage has a tendency to yellowing if
nutrient status is wrong or the tree stressed-and it takes up
very little room. Set against this is the very long time to
bearing (8-25 years in the case of seedlings) and the fact
that even when it does flower, if conditions are cool, humid
and wet, the tree may fail to set any fruit. Better to buy
grapes. A fruit for collectors only.
More detailed information can be found in the California Rare Fruit Growers (Inc) very good fact sheet at: http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/jaboticaba.html
JAPANESE RAISIN TREE Hovenia dulcis- A fast growing handsome and graceful small to medium tree; bears strange nibblie fruiting bodies on the tips of the branches, which when partly dry, taste for all the world like raisins! Weird. Quite good autumn colours. Quite a good landscape tree, but the fruit have novelty value only really. Most people taste them, find them acceptable, but don't bother with them again.
Zizyphus jujuba - Chinese Date, Red date
This small open, spiny, rather knarled looking deciduous shrub or small tree produces 30mm/1¼" long fleshy oblong to almost round fruit that can be eaten fresh, when they are crisp, slightly sweet (altho' fruit have 20% sugars, 16% are reducing sugars), with no acidity (acidity levels are around 4-5 %, not enough to give a marked acid note) or marked flavor, but it is usually boiled in sugar and dried. The green fruit turn a mahogony brown when ripe. It does well in hot dry areas, and fruits poorly if at all in cool summer areas. The trees are very cold tolerant, and the insignificant yellowish green flowers appear in late spring, and so are not troubled by frost. They must have free draining soil, altho' they have the virtue of tolerating some salinity and alkalinity. The trees are self fertile and highly productive in climates that suit them. The fruits ripen in autumn. Perhaps their greatest claim to fame is that they are an exceptional source of vitamin C - tree ripened fruit have analysed out at from 500 - 560 mg of vitamin C per 100 gram of flesh. This is one of the most outstanding amounts of any fruit. No wonder the Chinese value this fruit so highly!
Li- Large fruit. Small tree- around 4.5M/15'.
Lang- Large fruit, a little smaller than Li and ripens a month later.
Unless you are keen to have a 'health fruit' in your yard, the lack of marked flavor may not appeal. Try to find some fresh fruit to taste - if you find the fairly neutral flavor appealing, they are well worth growing.
More detailed information can be found in the California Rare Fruit Growers (Inc) very good fact sheet at: http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/jujube.html
California USA J A
mention in an article (1995) by a grower of jujubes, primarily
covering some of the harvest details.
KAFFIR PLUM Harpephyllum caffrum- male & female trees needed, attractive but frost tender evergreen glossy leaved quite large upright growing tree.The fruits are small, with thin acid but pleasant flesh over a relatively large stone. It has high landscape values, but the fact you need two trees for fruit, plus the small amount of flesh per fruit, really mean it is suitable for collectors only.
KEI APPLE Dovyalis caffra - 'Umbolo', 'Umokololo', 'Kaffir apple'. Kei apples are very spiny shrubs that make an excellent everything proof hedge. They have a major drawback-the hard, extremely sharp 50mm/2 inch spines are very painful, and the prunings take forever to rot, thus posing a threat to feet for many years unless every last piece has been picked up. The deep yellow small plum sized fruit fall from the female bushes (the sexes are on different plants) in late summer/autumn. They are acid, densely fleshy, with several slim fuzz covered seeds. They are not suitable for eating as a fresh fruit, but make good jam/jelly. There is said to be a thornless selection, and if it were available, this plant would be very useful for dual purpose hedging. But the normal spined plant is too dangerous to consider.
KIWIFRUIT Actinidia deliciosa,
A.chinensis, and hybrids -'Kiwi', 'Chinese Gooseberry'.
[ see also 'Hardy
Kiwifruit'] The fruit synonomous with kiwifruit is the
beautiful green fleshed Actinidia deliciosa cultivar
'Hayward'. Older A. deliciosa cultivars had pale
green or yellowy green flesh, weren't as highly flavored, and
have all but disappeared.
The species A.chinensis has yellow, gold, or green flesh. The best known cultivar is gold fleshed and patented - NZ plant variety right #1056 - as 'Hort 16A'. It is popularly known by its trademarked brand name 'Zespri Gold™'. No doubt they will be popularly referred to as 'the yellow kiwi'. There are, however, many other cultivars available, mainly imported from China via Japan or developed by amateur gardeners, in a range of sizes and flesh colors and shapes (in New Zealand, yellow varieties are not as yet available to the home gardener; and, curiously for the 'home' of the kiwifruit, few undeveloped kiwifruit species have ever been released ).
The size and shape of chinensis cultivars are variable, but in the largest, are similar to the existing kiwi. 'Hort16A' is atypical in that the stem end has sloping shoulders that are finally drawn into a small pinched 'beak', making the fruit look slightly testicular. Chinensis varieties are somewhat similar in taste to the standard green 'kiwi', but don't have the slightly aggressive acidity of the kiwi, and are much sweeter when well grown. When fully ripe, it's flavor it slightly honeyed, with melon tones, and with 'spicy', almost cinnamony undertones, quite complex but muted. It is substantially different in flavor to the green kiwifruit, and many prefer to it. Underipe fruit are pleasant but unremarkable. The flesh is soft with no 'stringiness', there are much fewer seeds, and the central 'core' is very small. It doesn't have the wonderful emerald green color -most have muted mid yellow to greenish colored flesh, - but is nevertheless attractive. Other seedling selections have orange, or even red flecked flesh.
The vine, however, is even more rampant in growth than kiwi, and sensitive to late frosts. In addition, a male of the same species (several male pollenizing cultivars have been patented in France and New Zealand, and may therefore be unavailable') is also required-the 'normal' green kiwifruit male pollenizing plant won't also 'do' the yellow fleshed species. The male is as rampant growing as the female.
Plants of 'Hort16A', i.e 'Zespri Gold™' are licenced to commercial growers only, and will never be available to home gardeners (NZ). While present in North America (and France and Italy), it will again only ever be released to licenced commercial growers. There are other patented varieties, the fruit of the Skelton series being most notable, but it is uncertain if they are available to the home gardener. The cultivars 'Jia' is available in USA and Canada, but again only to commercial growers under contract. France has at least one yellow fleshed kiwifruit, 'ChinaBelle®, released at the end of the year 2000, but, like the rest, exclusively to commercial growers.
The news is not all bad. There are quite a few yellow kiwifruit cultivars easily available to home gardeners (not New Zealand), and many more are likely to follow. Chinese cultivars have been imported into Europe and USA via Japan, and have been renamed - sometimes numerous times - along the way. These are 'Lushanxiang' (syn. 'First Emperor'), 'Jiangxi 79-1' (syn. 'Red Princess'), 'Kuimi' (syn. 'Turandot', 'Apple Sensation' etc) and 'Jinfeng' (syn.'Golden Yellow') . Flesh colors traverse yellow, orange and partially red fleshed. These plants cannot (legally!) be patented, and some are readily available to homegardeners in USA and parts of Europe. As European and American home gardeners grow seedings of these species, many more interesting types will doubtless become available there.
'Lushanxiang' ('First Emperor'), is the the most commonly available at this time.
Overall, the yellow kiwifruit is recommended only for large urban gardens and farmlets-it is far too vigorous for a small space garden-unless you are particularly interested in it's extraordinary vitamin C content.
of Actinidia chinensis JJJJ Julia Morton's extensive notes
on the history of kiwifruit and the industry, plus notes on
cultivars includes a listing of yellow fleshed Chinese varieties
and their characterstics. While we don't know which species they
are, we can reasonably assume most of the yellow flesh varieties
are A. chinensis.
chinensis ('the yellow fleshed kiwifruit') JJJJ A first class
overview of the history and decriptions of the various new
cultivars of yellow kiwifruit grown in China, USA, Japan, Italy,
France and New Zealand, including 'First Emperor', 'Red
Princess', 'Turandot', 'Golden Yellow', 'Hort16A', and
ChinaBelle ® . At the Purdue University New Crop site. Also
description of Actinidia in general and green kiwi.
Color pictures of kiwifruit cultivars - green, yellow, and red flesh. Click on the cultivar names to view. From the Department of of Food and Nutrition at Komazawa Women’s Junior College
The species A.deliciosa has green or yellow flesh. The best known are green fleshed cultivars. All Actinidias are rampant vines, and all require a non-fruiting male pollinator. If you want to grow kiwi, you will have to be prepared to prune regularly, or be taken over by the vine. That said, there is no doubt that home grown vine ripened kiwis have much better flavor than store bought fruit. The biggest problems are controlling the rampant growth, and keeping birds from eating them. Let your new plants (you need a male as well, remember?) grow along the very strongly secured wire on your fence or deck railing or wherever you are growing it, and just cut the tip off when it has gone far enough. This is the main fruiting arm. Branches that grow out from the main fruiting arm over the growing season don't have fruit, but the next years side branches that grow out from these now one year old branches will flower and fruit. The ends of these long side branches could be trimmed and tied up against the wall, or to your arbor, or left to dangle, but it takes up too much space. The best idea for the urban gardener is to shorten these long shoots back in the winter to a stub, containing only 3-4 buds. You get fewer fruit, but better control of the plant. The buds on the stub will grow out into fruiting lateral branches the following spring, and have flowers and fruit.
In the winter, stub this just fruited wood back to 3-4 buds just beyond the fruiting sprigs (thus the new, rather longer, stub is sitting atop last years stub). Let the buds on this spur grow out in spring and fruit for a final year, then in winter cut the spur right back to the main fruiting arm, leaving only one bud to grow out and start the whole process over again. The objective is a spur about every foot/30cm along the length of main fruiting arm.
In summer, prune to a stub any stout, upright watershoots, and prune back the ends of the fruiting laterals which are becoming tangled or in the way.
The male pollenizing vine is handled in an identical manner, except that, when flowering is finished, the flowering laterals can be pruned back more heavily. The male vine can have a much shorter main 'fruiting' (=flowering) arm than the female.
In the warmest parts of the warm temperate zone, there may be problems with poor bud burst in spring due to lack of winter chill. In this case, consider 'Vincent' or a A.chinensis cultivar, as both need less winter chill; or go for the tara berry, A.arguta. Conversely, areas that have occasional late spring frosts may have a crop failure due to frosting of the flowers. The best known cultivar is the commercial 'Hayward' cultivar. 'Skelton' is an early flowering plant with long, torpedo shaped fruit that ripen about 2 months earlier than 'Hayward', is sweeter, and has a higher ascorbic acid content. It requires an early flowering pollizer, such as 'Derek'. B114 is a prodigous cropper, with fruit hanging almost in bunches.
a collection of Actinidia species fruits JJJJ of the fruit of 16 species of
kiwifruits at the Purdue University website with the on-line
version of the new
book : 'Perspectives on New Crops
and New Uses: Proceedings of the Fourth National Symposium New
Crops and New Uses: Biodiversity and Agricultural
Sustainability' in the contribution 'New Temperate Fruits:
Actinidia chinensis and Actinidia deliciosa by
A.R. Ferguson' edited by Jules Janick of Purdue University 1999.
ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA
citation J extremely
-of who described the species, when, in what publication, the
natural range, and previous names. - 42 odd species and hybrids
at the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) database.
For the extreme enthusiast, not 'garden useful' for
most of us.
KiwifruitJJJJ Julia Morton's
extensive notes on the history of kiwifruit and the industry,
plus notes on cultivars (18, mainly Chinese varieties) makes
this a mini 'classic'. Mainly Actinidia deliciosa, some
discussion of hardy kiwis.
Carolina, USA - JJJJ
a very good fact sheet on all aspects of growing kiwi in
Carolina. Information on winter damage for A. deliciosa is
in California USA JJ
A brief article (1995) by a grower of unusual kiwifruit
covering some of the A. chinensis, A. melanandra and other
species introduced to USA.
deliciosa ('the kiwifruit') JJJJ A first class overview of the
history of the green kiwifruit (Hayward) and decriptions of the
various new cultivars of yellow kiwifruit grown in USA, Japan,
Italy, France and New Zealand, including 'First Emperor', 'Red
Princess', 'Turandot', 'Golden Yellow', 'Hort16A', and
ChinaBelle ® . At the Purdue University New Crop site.
Actinidia deliciosa and chinensis J 'Skelton cultivars' - brief notes on the 'Skelton' green kiwifruit, and pictures of a variety of 'Skelton' gold types
fruit with no name J
A whimsical piece on the name 'kiwi' fruit, sparked by
the developement by a New Zealand selection of the yellow
kiwifruit grown in China, Japan, USA and France, and carrying
the unlovely variety name 'Hort16A'. By a local food and wine
KUMQUAT Fortunella sp. A small citrus tree never exceeding 10 feet/3 metres (on dwarfing rootstock) that grows and fruits well in warm temperate areas. Ideal for pot culture, where it can be held as a small bushy tree. The fruit are round or oblong, and about the size of a large grape. The peel is sweet, but the flesh is acid. Meiwa is the cultivar most usually used for fresh eating. It has good landscape value, especially as a potted specimen, but very few of us will actually get around to preserving them.
Citrus limon A required plant for any household. If your
soil allows you to grow citrus, lemons are a must. The white
flowers are attractive, they have a pleasant scent, and they
look great hanging with fruit. The drawbacks are the need for
free draining soil, and in wet and humid areas the fruit can
be affected by a fungus called verrucosis which makes
the fruit look scurfy. In the warmest areas lemons tend to
flower and fruit almost continuously, but with the main crop
being winter and early spring. Lemon trees grow to be
large trees, producing far more lemons than the average
household could ever want. Espaliering, hedging, container
growing, and using small varieties takes care of this 'good
Meyer-Not a 'true' lemon, but a hybrid with an unknown citrus species, Meyer produces a prodigous amount of very juicy, medium sized fruit. Its landscape values are high, in that the deep yellow fruit festooning the tree are wonderfully attractive in themselves. Meyer grows in a fairly open fashion, with long branches that droop under the weight of fruit. This makes it a good candidate for espaliering and informally hedging. It bears fruit in the first year of planting out.(US, NZ, AU)
Eureka-yellow fruit, highly acid, medium sized, very similar to Lisbon. The tree is moderately vigorous, and nearly thornless. It normally starts into fruiting at a younger age than Lisbon. As a generalisation, there is more chance of getting a fair proportion of fruit in summer with Eureka compared to Lisbon.(US, NZ, AU)
Villa Franca-very similar to Eureka, same comments apply (US, NZ, AU)
Genoa-also similar to Eureka, but the fruit are slightly smaller, and again, the same comments apply.(US, NZ, AU)
Lisbon-yellow fruit, highly acid, medium sized, very similar to Eureka.The tree is large, dense foliaged and vigorous, with numerous long thorns, and the fruit tend to be carried within the canopy. It is more tolerant to adverse environmental conditions such as wind and cold than the other 'true' lemons.(US, NZ, AU)
Ponderosa-Like Meyer, not a true lemon, but a hybrid, probably with the citron. The fruit are very large, have a thick to very thick skin, and are seedy and sometimes rather dry. The tree is small, large leafed, and thorny. It tends to bear year round.(US, NZ, AU)
LEMONADE- similar in appearance to a lemon, but much smaller, the fruit are a combination of acid and sweet. Ripe in winter. The tree is fairly weak growing, with drooping branches, and well suited to espaliering. Lemonade needs to be planted in full sun to develop good flavor. A well grown fruit can be eaten skin and all. This is an unusual citrus, and one not found in the markets, and is definitely worth growing.
There are two main varieties of lime you can grow-the
small fruited, sometimes quite seedy, highly aromatic
'mexican' lime that can be picked green or yellow; and the
small lemon sized, generally seedless, pale yellow 'Bearss'
Mexican is also known as the 'bartender's lime', or the 'key' lime, and has that delightful aromatic lime smell. The tree has light green leaves, is fairly thorny, and when grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock it makes a neat shrubby tree, which is convenient, because it really needs to be container grown and pampered, as it is a heat demanding variety, and not really suited to warm temperate areas.
Bearss, also known in some areas as 'Tahitian' or 'Persian' lime, in contrast, ia about as hardy as a lemon. It is a much more vigorous and spreading tree, less thorny than Mexican, with fragrant flowers, and holds on the tree for a while when ripe, but has less flavor than 'Mexican'. Nevertheless, the flavor is still good, and it usually flowers and fruits virtually year round, like most lemons.
LOGANBERRY A raspberry/blackberry hybrid.A
large dusty maroon red berry that ripens about 10 days before
Boysenberry. It bears heavily, and is quite well adapted to
cool summer areas. It is quite acid in flavor, and not
something you would any a lot of as a fresh fruit. Trailling
and thorny, it is best as a canning/bottling propostion, but
even then you have to add a lot of sugar, which defeats the
The selection LY 654 is thornless.
Grow as for Blackberry
Euphoria longana Closely related to the lychee, the
longan forms a small, compact headed tree, often with
attractive red new growth. It is really a subtropical tree
fruit so it is difficult to fruit this tree is warm temperate
areas, even altho' it grows fairly well in the warmest parts.
The trees set the fruit so late that they rarely reach more
than small grape size before cool weather causes them to fall
off. In an ocassional warm year fruit will mature and be
sweet, but the size is often small. It is amenable to pruning,
and so is well suited to urban food gardening. The fruit,
carried in terminal clusters, are small (about an inch/25mm
wide), round, and a dull brown color. The skin is thin and
brittle, and peels to reveal a transluscent pulp enclosing a
single round, black shiny seed. The taste is much less
perfumed than the lychee, stronger, with a greater depth of
flavor. They have a tendency to biennial bearing. The trees
withstand some wind, are are more adaptable to soil and
temperature range than the lychee. The fruit would mature in
early winter (late June, Southern Hemisphere).They fruit
readily in large containers in glasshouses or other protected
areas. Strictly for the collector.
Longan in Australia JJJ A general overview and description of the longan in Australia, mainly from the commercial point of view, but still a good introductory fact sheet on it's requirements.
LOQUATEriobotrya chinensis The loquat is a handsome round headed tree, with large, dark green, serrated leaves. The small white flowers are borne in terminal clusters in late autumn, and are strongly and delightfully fragrant. The fruit are variable, from about large grape size to golf ball size, depending on cultivar. Some are more or less round, and others rather pear shaped, again, depending on variety. The yellow or near orange fruit are very juicy, soft fleshed, with 4 or 5 large brown seeds taking up the centre of the fruit. The flavor is variable-some are quite acid with little sweetness, others are very sweet with good acid balance, and some are predominantly sweet. The fruit are very rare in the market, and when they do appear, they are usually very expensive. They cannot really be shipped because they bruise easily when handled, with the bruised area turning brown. Some trees are dense, vigorous, and grow to 6M/20 feet or so, others (some of the Japanese varieties) remain about 1.5M/5 feet. Loquats will tolerate some shade, when the already large leaves become even larger. Loquats are hardy, altho' bad frosts at flowering time will destroy the flowers. They will grow on most soils, and can be grafted to quince rootstock, which also tolerates heavy soils.Quince rootstocks do send up suckers from the base, whose constant need for removal soon becomes tiresome. In humid climates, the foliage and fruit are subject to a 'black spot' fungus which makes the foliage unattractive and ruins the fruit. The main problem is bird damage. To be their best, loquats need to fully tree ripen, but birds peck them as soon as they have colored. The best strategies are to prune the trees low and net the tree; bag choice racemes individually; or grow small cultivars and net the tree. Hot temperatures at fruiting can cauase sunburn. All in all, the loqat is a very worthwhile tree so long as you select a sweet, large fruited variety, you protect the fruit from birds, and in humid areas, you are prepared to spray against fungus disease.
LUCUMA Pouteria obovata- A handsome upright tree that can be pruned for size control, the lucuma has a green skinned, about orange sized and shaped fruit (variable), with strange 'dry' flesh in which are embedded 3-5 very large shiny seeds. The flesh is butterscotch flavored, but too dry to eat other than in cooking. The fruit mature in winter, but is very difficult to pick exactly when they are ripe. Picked too soon they never ripen, too late and they split open on the tree. It is uncertain whether or not they need cross pollination. Most plants are seedlings, and are somewhat variable. Rarely available. Collectors item.
LYCHEE Litchi chinensis This is a most attractive landscape tree, but is omly able to be grown in the warmest parts of warm temperate areas. The tree forms a dense head, the flushes of new growth are an attractive bronzy pink, and when it is in fruit the clusters of round pink/red fruit are highly decorative against the foliage. The fruit are small, about 1½ inches/38mm wide, with an easily peeled brittle skin overlaying transluscent, juicy flesh. There is a single, shiny brown seed. The flavor is sweet and perfumed, although there are varietal differences. Young trees are very sensitive to fertiliser damage, and to cold wind. Once the trees are older, they will stand some frost. Lychees grow very well but fruit poorly in the warm temperate areas, as they need a period of (preferably dry) cool to initiate flowers, and rainfall can cause flower buds to be surplanted by a burst of vegetative growth instead. Brewster, Mauritius (Tai So), and Hak Ip are the cultivars with good to very good flavor and with resistance to anthracnose disease which damages the fruit. (Except Mauritius, which is suceptible). For the more mild parts of the wtz, lychees fruit well in large containers in glasshouse and conservatories, as long as they are kept slightly dry over autumn. Lychees in pots are fairly demanding, and not for the amateur.
MAGNOLIA VINE Schizandra chinensis - a hardy deciduous vine (a relative of the magnolia) growing to about 6M/20 feet that produces very attractive red berries which are tart but aromatic.The pink flowers are pleasantly fragrant. Sweetened, the berries used for juice and preserves. The berries are said to be high in vitamin C, and shizandrin, a stimulating and supposedly healthful compound.
MACADAMIA- see 'Nut, Macadamia'
MANDARIN- Firstly, the name 'tangerine' has
been applied to very orange-red colored mandarins
cultivars-presumably as a description of the color, as much as
anything else. However, to avoid confusion, it is best to
stick with the correct name-'mandarin'. Without a doubt, the
mandarin is one of the most valuable fruit for the small space
home fruit gardener in the warm temperate areas. The trees are
small to very small if grafted onto darfing or ultra dwarfing
(flying dragon) rootstock, they start bearing within three
years of planting out, the flowers are attractive, the tree in
fruit is attractive, they don't need pruning, almost none need
a pollinator, the range of flavors in the mandarins is
reasonably diverse, and there are early, mid, and late season
varieties to give a long fruiting season. The 'Satsuma' type
mandarins from Japan comprise an early ('wase') group and a
late ('unshiu') group and are probably the most cold tolerant,
and suit cool summer, frost prone, and somewhat mandarin
marginal areas. The earliest ripening varieties are all
satsuma types. They tend to be small trees, early to come into
fruiting, and prodigous croppers. The fruit colour 3 or 4
weeks before they are of good eating quality. There are
a large number of types of common mandarin, with varying
ripening times, peelability, fruit size, seediness, flavor,
cold hardiness and regularity of bearing. Fruiting starts in
early winter, with winter/early spring the main season; altho
a few late varieties such as 'Encore', 'Kara', and 'Pixie'
carry the season into early summer. Go for an early, mid
season and late variety that is adapted to your area.Any
competant nurseryperson will advise you.
mandarin cultivars in New Zealand
MANGO Mangifera indica The mango is usually a very lkarge, spreading tree. Grafted trees, are, however, smaller, and mangoes don't grow as fast or large in the warm temperate areas. In fact, they are restricted to the most extremely favorable parts of the warm temperate zone-hot summers, no air frosts, long seasons. The trees are very attractive-the leaves are shiny green and contrast with the bright red new growth. When the tree flowers it is covered in light yellow panicles, and when the fruit is ripening it is hung with bunches of green/red/yellow fruit. The mango is adaptable as to soil, and as long as the growing young tree is fed regularly and watered if necessary in a dry spell, it will thrive. A poor type of mango will be fibrous, acid, and 'turpentiney'. Selected types effectively have no fibre, are intensely sweet, and with stunning depth of delicious flavor.The fruit are too well known to need description. Grafted trees will begin to fruit 3 to 5 years after planting. Fruits of most varieties mature in autumn or winter. From flower to fruit maturity takes about 100 to 130 days. Rain when the mango is flowering can cause poor fruit set. The fungus disease 'Anthracnose' attacks the flowers, the fruitlets and soft growth.Not only can it prevent adequate fruit set by damaging flowers, fruit that do mature may rot.
MARIONBERRY- This bramble is a cross between
a blackberry and the Olallie berry
from Marion County, Oregon, USA. It is a bright black, medium
to large sized fruit. It fruits at the same time as
boysenberry. It's advantages over the boysenberry are that it
is more attractive looking, it has better flavor, the seeds
are much smaller than boysenberies slightly intrusive seeds,
and the plants are probably a bit hardier.
The plant itself is very vigorous and very thorny, and the strong canes seem elatively disease resistant. Marionberries need a wire or fence to grow on, they need to be sprayed against fungus diseases unless you have a fairly dry climate, and they must be netted against birds if you are to harvest fully vine ripened fruit. Pruning is as for blackberry.
Crataegus aestivalis "Applehaw' These hardy trees
produce fruit in spring. The trees are extremely adaptable to
soil type, and can stand both occassional flooding and
drought. They are also relatively disease resistant. While
they tolerate freezes to minus 40F, they flower very early and
the flowers are liable to be frosted in the coolest parts of
warm temperate areas. The fruit are usually red, carried in
clusters, and about an inch/25mm in diameter. The flavor is
politely described as 'wild', but they are palatable.
'Super Spur' produces prodigous quatities of fruit on a heavily spurring tree-a well established tree may produce as much as 80 gallons!
'Texas Star' has intense red berries and is a late blooming variety.
'Royalty' is also lateblooming and it's with showy white flowers are over an inch/25mm in diameter.
'Gem' is late blooming and has a concentrated fruit ripening.
MEDLAR Mespilus germanica- This unusual fruit is the size of a small apple. It has dry brown skin and contains firm flesh and some furry pips. The fruit are inedible straight off the tree-they have to be picked and left to become soft-a process known as 'bletting'. When the flesh has become soft, it is a mid brownish color, and tastes exactly of compote of apples/stewed apples. If you blett them for too long, they rot. As the fruit are ripe about the same time as apples, there seems little point in growing it, except the tree is austere, slow growing, deciduous, with attractive flowers, and it will puzzle all who see it. It is relatively indifferent to soil and position in the garden, and seems almost unaffected by pests and diseases.
MOUNTAIN PAPAYA Carica pubescens-'Ababai',
'Chamburro'. There are several species of 'mountain papaya',
as the name is really a 'catch all' to distinguish Andean
papaya species from the tropical papaya of commerce.
Certainly, the most common mountain papaya in USA and
Australasia in C.pubescens which has, by default, come
to be regarded as 'the' mountain papaya. This papaya species
is adapted to the cold, but not frosty cloud forests of the
Andes. It will recover from some frost, but heavy frost will
kill this succulent herbaceous plant. The 'trees' are
striking, having one or more 'trunks' topped with large, lobed
leaves that are pubescent underneath. Plants may be male,
female, or hermaphrodite. They can also change sex. The dumpy
75mm/3 inch fruit have 5 fleshy ridges and are a dull yellow
when ripe. In the tropical Papaya/Pawpaw of commerce, the
fleshy fruit wall is eaten, and the seds in the cavity
discarded. The opposite is true for the mountain papaya. The
fruit wall is too dense and tough to be eaten fresh, and while
juicy, has no sweetness. The seed cavity, in contrast, has
it's numerous seeds embedded in a very sweet and aromatic
pulp, and it is this part that is eaten. The mountain papaya
has high landscape values where it can be protected from heavy
frost, it produces well, the inconspicuous greeny-yellow
flowers are fragrant at night, and the fruit are aromatic and
very pleasantly flavored; on the other hand, the large numbers
of seeds are intrusive, and the pulp has to be swallowed
whole, seeds and all, with minimum chewing to avoid crunching
seeds. The fruit walls can be used if they are cooked in a
heavy sugar syrup, but who could be bothered?
Chamburro, C.stipulata, is another Andean mountain species, but is rarely encountered in the West. It is similar to C.pubescens, but the trunk of the 'trees' is covered in short stout 'thorns', the flowers are deep yellow, the fruit is larger, at about 100mm long, it does not have the fleshy ridges on the fruit, it is not sweet, has a relatively soft fruit wall, and it's very high papain content precludes it from being eaten fresh, even if you wanted to. Like C.pubescens, it is cooked in sugar syrup in South America, and it very acceptable prepared this way. But again, why bother?
Other mountain papaya species include-C.parviflora, knee high plant, tiny bright orange fruit, stunning purple flowers, not enough fruit substance to be edible; C.quercifolia-large and vigorous approximately oak-leaf shaped leaves and narrow 50mm/2 inch torpedo shaped orange fruit with extremely thin and tender skin that can be eaten whole and are rather pleasant, if variable, C.goudotiana, a very tropical single stemmed hansome purplish plant with fruit similar to C.pubescens, but rather drier and without any real sweetness or flavor. There are also hybrids of these species to be found in arboreta and in the few tenuously remaining amateur rare fruit collections left in the world.
MULBERRY- White Mulberry (Morus alba),
Black Mulberry (M.nigra), Red mulberry (M.rubra)
White Mulberry - The berries are white, pinkish, or blackish purple 25-50mm/1-2 inches long. Some varieties are sweet, others are insipid. The tree is fast growing, with large, light green, smooth and shiny leave. The fruit of the best cultivars is OK, especially if cooked, but it will have to be netted from the birds, which love them. They have to be fully ripened on the tree, otherwise they are rather dry, and certainly tasteless. To be nettable, the trees need to be heavily pruned each year, which doesn't faze them, as fruit are carried on new growth.
Black Mulberry-The fruits are very jicy, sweet, and stain when they fall from the tree. Paradoxically, while it is by far the best mulberry, it is also a nuisance from the point of view of the staining fruit. A very large deciduous tree with dark green, lobed leaves that are downy underneath. Because it is large and vigorous, it is hard to contain.
Red Mulberry -The native American mulberry, most often it is often used as a rootstock for the black mulberry (the black mulberry is difficult to propogate from cuttings and may be incompatible with the white mulberry). The fruit is edible.
NECTARINE Prunus persica- Nectarine flowers are a bit more susceptible to frost injury than peaches, otherwise the comments that apply to peaches apply to nectarines-the nectarine is a smooth skinned, fuzzless peach. There are, of course, connoisseur nectarine varieties, as there are connoisseur peach, just not so many.
NUT, ALMOND Prunus amygdalus- almonds
are the first spring blossom, and make a wonderful spring
display.. However, you need to plant two trees of different
varieties to get fruit set. The nut is enclosed in a fleshy
fruit (a good photo
of the fleshy husk is at the Sierra
Nurseries web site) that looks a bit like an unripe
peach. This is tedious to remove, and the nut crop is rarely
so large to justify the effort involved in harvest and drying.
There is no particular advantage to home grown almonds over
fresh commercial ones, so almonds have no place in the urban
hominids food garden, unless as an ornamental. Where there is
the luxury of space-and time to deal with the crop-they are a
magnificent landscape blossom tree, and the nuts are a bonus.
'Paper shell' almonds have a nut that is so soft it can be
removed by hand. 'Soft shells' are easily opened with a
kitchen nut cracker, and 'hard shells 'have a shell as hard as
a peach stone, or harder. 'Paper shells' are desirable from
the user friendliness point of view, but are more likely to be
damaged by insects, or even birds.
402 (NZ)- A softshell locally selected variety. The nut is ready about mid autumn. In humid climates, the fleshy fruit tends to become diseased, and shrink onto the nut shell making it a bit difficult to remove. The kernel is large, acutely pointed, somewhat flat. Neither bitter nor sweet, its flavor is unremarkable. Not a particularly productive tree.
IXL (NZ, US) Ready about mid autumn. The fleshy fruit is big and fat and easy to remove from the shell. The shell is a thick hard shell, and difficult to crack. The kernel is medium sized, somewhat "bitter".
Monovale (NZ)-A local hardshell selection. A prodigous producer of quite bitter hard shelled nuts.
All-in-one (US, NZ)-A small tree, it produces particularly fat, large kernels and nuts. The kernel is sweet and flavorful. Production is very low in humid areas due to a disease shrivelling the kernel.
NARANJILLASolanum quitoense Literally 'little orange' this plant is a spectacular ornamental low sprawling weak shrub. The velvety leaves have spines in the ribs and veins, but in one selection are spine free. It demands shade and perfect drainage and organic soil. It is short lived and very prone to root rot. The fruit are produced in abundance, if your plant survives and thrives. They are acidy, slightly sweet, odd. Usually you squeeze the pulp into sugary water and it turns an astonishing shade of green. A novelty to annoy the neighbours with, but not a serious crop.
NUT, CHESTNUT Castanea sativa, C.crenata,
C.x sativa Chestnuts fruit in early-mid autumn, and are
usually regarded as too large for the small garden. Grafted
trees start to bear nuts when less than head high, so it may
be possible to keep them small with severe pruning. That said,
the flavor of chestnuts is so close to the sweet potato (Ipoemea
batatas), that it is probably better to use the space
for another food bearing tree and simply buy sweet potato,
which are easier to prepare, and much cheaper
C.sativa-sweet or Spainish chestnut.
NUT, GEVUINA Gevuina avellana A small tree that has nuts similar to a macadamia. They are very subject to root rot caused by the soil fungus Phytopthora, and seem to need acid soil conditions. They are fast grower in the right conditions, but the right conditions are often difficult to determine, let alone achieve. Very little is known about growing this nut tree. It is worth attempting as a challenge, especially as it is a very small tree and accepts some shade and therefore suited to the small space garden, but don't have high expectations of bowls full of nuts. Try growing it amongst your rhododendrons.
NUT, HAZEL Corylus avellana 'Filbert', 'Fillbasket'. The hazel is a superb tasting nut, an ideal hominid food, a graceful small bushy tree (it can be trained as a standard), tolerates light shade, and a generally ideal home garden food source except that it fruit erratically or not at all in warm temperate areas, and suckers like crazy from the base of the tree. Hazels need a lot of winter chill, altho, paradoxically, because they flower in winter they can be damaged by severe frost. The only cultivar recommended for warm temperate areas is 'Merveille de Bowiller', but even then, you will need another variety for pollination.
NUT, MACADAMIA Macadamia integrifolia,
M.tetraphylla Macadamia nuts are an excellent
tree for the home food garden. The nuts are particularly
nutritious. The commercial growers go for nuts with high oil
content and low sugar content-low sugar so the nuts don't
caramelise when they are toasted. The urban hominid should go
for nuts with a high sugar content, then dry them rather than
toast or roast them. Dried, they keep for about a year before
there is any rancidity. Grafted trees are better than cutting
grown trees, as cutting grown trees sometimes are blown over
once they have become fairly tall. Macadamias can be pruned
for convenience, and if left alone, some varieties can become
very large and spreading. Cultivars derived from M.tetraphylla
are the sweetest, and have the particular advantage of having
a husk which splits well, releasing the nut. The leaves of tetraphylla
cultivars have a slightly ''prickly' margin. Cultivars
of M.integrifolia have lower sugar, smooth leaves, are
slower to come into bearing in more marginal parts of the warm
temperate area, and tend not to release the nut from the husk,
meaning they have to be hand picked. The long racemes of pale
purplish pink or white flowers are wonderfully fragrant and
abundant. Some cultivars have attractive reddish or bronze new
Macadamias will be damaged by airfrost, especially when young, but soon recover. Any other than a poorly drained soil will do. Cross pollination is essential, or nut numbers will be in the ones or twos per raceme, instead of hanging in bunches. Macadamias are loved by rats, and immature fruit can be damaged by piercing and sucking bugs. Other than that they are pretty care free.
in USA The
California Rare Fruit growers have produced this very good fact
sheet on all aspects of growing macadamis in the dooryard
orchard in the United States
New Zealand JJJJ An
article from the Journal of the New Zealand Tree Crops
Association covering most aspects of growing macadamias, albeit
in a commercial setting. The principles are, however, applicable
to the home gardener
NUT, PECAN Carya illinoisensis One of
the premier hominid foods. Unfortuneately, it grows on a tree
that ultimately grows enormous, is prone to branch break in
windy areas, requires a pollinating variety of the right type,
and requires a long hot summer to mature the nuts, plus a
fairly cold winter to initiate flowers. In the very hot
mediterranean-like parts of the warm temperate zone, they do
make a good shade tree, as the foliage is quite open and
delicate, and cropping is reliable. A grafted tree will start
giving better than token amounts after five or six years. The
chief problem is rodents stealing the nuts-and to a lesser
extent damage from a variety of caterpillars and bugs. Pecans
are fairly adaptable to soil type, but are intolerant of
salinity. For most parts of the warm temperate area, it may be
better to rely on buying commercial nuts from the areas well
suited to pecans rather than try to grow your own.
Pecan growing in USA, North Carolina JJJJ A very good page on varieties, culture, and insect pests of pecan in North Carolina. As North Carolina is regarded as at rather much at the northern limit for pecans, the information may have relevance to other cool climate or short season areas. Produced by the North Carolina State University Co-operative Extension
cultivars JJJJ All
description, from the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Dept.
of Agriculture, in Texas, USA.
NUT, PISTACHIO Pisticia vera is a
Mediterranean nut needing both heat, and in winter cold. It
performs poorly or not at all in humid climates. The tree
tends to be weak and straggly. Unless you have a continental
type climate, hot in summer, cold but not snowy in winter,
More detailed information can be found in the California Rare Fruit Growers (Inc) very good fact sheet at:
in New Zealand A very good article from the
Journal of the New Zealand Tree Crops Association covering most
aspects of growing pistachios (except cultivar notes), albeit in
a commercial setting. The principles are, however, applicable to
the home gardener.
NUT, WALNUT Juglans regia Along with
the pecan, this is one of the nicest nuts there are. There is
quite a bit of variation in taste between the cultivars, with
some having a slight astringency and some not. The oil content
also varies, as does nut size and ease of cracking. Walnuts
are well adapted throughout the warm temperate zone, but the
amount of winter chill needed varies greatly with cultivar.
Plant a walnut cultivar requiring high winter chill in the
warmest part of warm temperate areas and you get very poor
leafing out in spring and poor yeilds. In mild winter areas
you will need to consult a knowlegeable nurseryperson about
which varieties are adapted to the area. In humid summer
areas, there is a major problem with a bacterial disease (Xanthomonas
juglandii) which blackens and destroys the nut. Some
cultivars are resistant. If you live in an area prone to late
spring frosts you will need to avoid cultivars that leaf out
early. Walnuts need well drained soil, and adequate soil
moisture in summer. Walnuts are very large trees, and should
be planted at least 7.5M/25 feet from the house to avoid
leaves in the guttering, excessive shading, and damage to
paving from roots. To get the maximum number of nuts fruit
well you usually need two different cultivars, most single
trees will bear well in the home garden. A grafted tree
will start bearing nuts in about the fifth year.
Early leafing-Serr, Payne, Placentia, Chico. Cultivars
NUT, WALNUT, ANDEAN Juglans honoreii This fast growing evergreen Juglans species is from the relative calm and frost free sub tropical Andes. It is frost tender, and, like the Pecan, suceptible to branches and the growing tip being broken in wind. Under warm temperate Southern Hemisphere conditions it produces it's nuts in winter, in June and July.
The advantages of the Andean walnut are that it fruits well; it is self fertile; it comes into bearing from seed within about five or six years; and it has large nuts that are moderately well filled. The biggest disadvantage is that the nut does not fall free of the husk and 'clings' to the nut. This means the almost tennis ball sized 'fruit' (fleshy husk plus the 'nut' in the middle) have to be collected and piled up for the husk to rot off. The olivey green to brown fruits turn dark brown as the husk breaks down, and the fleshy part becomes black and soft and spongy. Nuts falling and rotting on paved areas would be unattractive, although the decomposing husks don't seem to stain the hands, at least.
Once cleaned, the round golf-ball sized nuts can be dried. Their shell is very thick heavy, and they are not easy to open. Once open, the kernel is also difficult to remove from the shell. The kernel itself is blandly pleasant. This is a tree for the collector in a low frost area. The common walnut is the tree of choice for reliable fruiting and easy harvesting and storage, easy cracking and kernel extraction.
OLIVE Olea europea- A truly marvellous landscape tree, the olive. But the fruit have to be leached of their bitter chemicals and pickled, which involves a degree of fiddling about beyond most of our patience. They are produced commercially far better, more cheaply, and more certainly. Buy them, don't grow them-or at least, don't seriously grow them as a home orchard tree.
OLALLIE BERRY This bramble is a cross between a black Loganberry and a Youngberry. The berries are black, long and narrow, firm and sweet with wild blackberry overtones at full maturity. The plants are highly productive, vigorous and thorny. Culture is as for blackberry.
sinensis Oranges are cheap in the supermarkets,
nevertheless the orange is an excellent landscape tree-
attractive form, small size, scented flowers, decorative
fruit, trimmable. In addition, if you use orange peel in
recipes, you can be sure your own oranges will be free of
waxes, colouring, and fungicides. So long as the trees are
watered and/or mulched in summer, given regular small doses of
complete fertiliser throughout the year, and the surface
feeder roots are kept from damage, productivity with minimum
effort is assured. Citrus need a little complete proprietary
complete citrus fertiliser regularly. The best prevention for
various trace element deficiencies which citrus seem prone to
is to use composted animal manures such as pelletised chicken
manure under the trees-and a good organic mulch.
Dwarf citrus (citrus grafted to dwarfing rootstocks such as 'trifoliata') are the only from to consider for the small space garden; a valencia orage that would noramlly grow to 20' on a standard stock will be a much more sensible 10 feet on a dwarfing rootstock. And the most dwarfing of the trifoliate rootstocks (trifoliata 'flying dragon') will keep them even smaller still.
For practical purposes there are three main groups of oranges-the common orange, the navel orange, and the blood orange. The navel is the richest flavored of these.
Navel-ripe in mid to late winter, navels have an unparelleled richness and sweetness when well grown. They are relatively easy to peel, with their skin genrally being thicker than common oranges. They are also easier to pull apart intp segements.
Marrs-a medium to large orange, often seedy. It is sweet and juicy, but lacks the acidity essential for depth of flavor unless it is left to hang late on the tree. It has the advantage of being a small tree, and starting into fruit at an early age. Parson Brown- a medium sized, juicy, sweet orange on an upright, vigorous tree.
Pineapple-medium sized fruit with very good flavor, but they don't 'hold' on the tree, have a tendency to alternate bearing Valencia-medium to large juicy, sweet fruit, bearing heavily on a large upright tree. It tends to alternate bearing
Seville-a medium sized tree bearing prodigious quantities of attractive but very sour oranges whose sole purpose is to make the superb, slightly bitter, seville orange marmalade.
ORANGE BERRY Rubus calcinoides (pentalobus) a low, rather compact foliaged evergreen rubus with small dark green leaves reaching about a metre or so wide. The small white fowers appear in early summer and fruit ripen thereafter. The small bright orange fruit are acid/tangy. Prefers well drained moist soils and a sunny aspect. Self fertile.
OYSTER NUT Telfaria pedata more a large edible gourd seed than a nut, this is a rampaging climber, going to 50 feet or more. The trees they grow up are eventually smothered...The sexes are on seperate plants, so at least three plants are needed to get a better than even chance of one at least being female, but you won't know for 2 years because it takes that long before they flower.The females produce large gourd like fruit up to 50cms long and containing as many as 150 edible seeds ('nuts). The seeds are excellent, with a high oil content and a taste similar to hazels. Not a practical propostion for most urban hominids, even if they are the kind of food our distant African ancestors would have eaten.
PAPAYACarica papaya 'Pawpaw'. The papaya is relatively short-lived-it is actually classified as a herbaceous plant, not a shrub or tree-but fast-growing plant about 10ft/3m high, usually with a single stem. The plants take up very little space, are handsome, and are wonderfully productive in suitable climates. The warm temperate zone is not suitable for tropical papayas. In the very hottests part of the wtz they will survive and fruit, but they need to have protection from wind and cold. Even then, the fruit don't become very sweet. The plants themeselves are relatively cold hardy, and will even recover from some frost damage, but the real damage is done when leaf stalks are broken in windy conditions in winter. Fungi enter the wound and infect the stem, and soon the plant turns to slush. There are seperate male and female plants, and you won't know which is which until your seedlings start to flower- which is why it is best to grow three plants close together hope to get a plant of each sex.Female flowers have short stalks and a swollen, fleshy base within the petals. Male flowers are in panicles of many small flowers on the end of a long stem. Some cultivars, however, have a tendency to have both male and female flowers on the same plant-the 'Solo' strain is well known for this. Papaya must have excellent drainage, or they may get root rot and collapse. Strains of the variety 'Matsumoto' are said to be more tolerant of wetter conditions. In the wettest areas, the fungal disease 'anthracnose' can be a problem. It causes sunken circular spots on the ripening fruit. It can be largely prevented by spraying, but it is not really worth the effort. One for collectors in ideal microclimates only.
PASSIONFRUIT, BANANA Passiflora
antioquensis. P.mollisima and P.mixta. The name
'banana passionfruit' is most often given to either P.mollisima
or P.mixta. All three have torpedo shaped - in some
peoples minds 'banana' shaped - yellowish fruit. P.mollisima
and P.mixta are exceptionally vigorous, and the fruit
quality is not particularly good-both lack sugar. Because of
their rampaging nature P.mollisima and P.mixta
can smother other plants, and consequently can't be
recommended for the urban garden.
P.antioquensis, in complete contrast, has very low vigor, and often dies out for no discernable reason. It may prefer at least some shade-indeed, it is said to be suitable as an indoor plant. The flowers are very attractive, and the fruit is one of the very nicest of all the passionfruit. The pulp is sweet, perfumed and opaque creamy white. Although it can be difficult to grow, it is worth the effort.
OBSCURE & RARE SPECIES Of the 400 wild species, only
a few are in cultivation as fruit, and effectively only one
commercially. And then in very small amounts. Many species
have edible fruit, or greater or lesser worth. Details of a
few of the edible species are at this commercial site.-
PASSIONFRUIT, YELLOW Passiflora edulis var.flavicarpa- 'Golden passionfruit', 'Hawaiian passionfruit' . The yellow form is identical in all respects to the purple plant, except that the fruit are a mid yellow color, and often slightly smaller. They withstand some less than ideal soil conditions better than the purple form. The yellow passionfruit grown in many tropical areas may be different from the true P.edulis var. flavicarpa because it is larger than even the purple form, has a thicker fruit wall, and a slightly more acid flavor. The foliage is lighter, and larger. In addition, it is self infertile, requiring two plants to be present for cross pollination, whereas the purple passionfruit is self fertile.
PASSIONFRUIT, SWEET GRANADILLA Passiflora ligularis -This very vigorous vine has somewhat heart shaped leaves and very attractive large white and purple fringed flowers. It requires something fairly strong to climb up, and may reward you with orange or browny orange almost round fruit, sometimes blushed purple, about half way between golf ball and tennis ball sized, with a brittle fruit wall enclosing opaque white pulp that is sweet, perfumed and aromatic. The plant is damaged by frost, and in warm temperate areas, it fruits unreliably.
PASSIONFRUIT, HARD SHELL PASSIONFRUIT Passiflora maliformis 'Sweet Calabash'.This is a small vine, reaching only 20ft/6m. It is very frost tender indeed, and can only be grown in the most favorable microclimates. The flowers are very pretty, white and purple, and fringed. The fruit are small-about,or a bit less than, golf ball size. They are dusky yellow when ripe. The fruit are amazingly hard-it takes a hammer to break them open. The reward is a slightly musky, perfumed and aromatic delicious sweet opaque pulp. The seed is hard to find, but worth growing if you have the right climate or space in your greenhouse for it's restraint, flowers, connoisser flavor, and bizarre impenetrability.
PASSIONFRUIT, GIANT GRANADILLA Passiflora quadrangularis This is the queen and king of all passionfruit-at least in terms of size. The fruit can be as big as a melon! They fruit virtually year round, and in the subtropics, a single vine can produce upward of a hundred fruit. The plants are extensive growers in the very warmest parts of warm temperate areas, reaching 50ft/15m, and they set fruit readily. The quality of the fruit is very indifferent in the wtz, and the fruit take a long time to mature. The flowers are very large, spectacular with purple and white filaments against the red sepals. The fruit are up to 12in/30cm long, oval/oblong, turning greeny orange when ripe. The pulp is purple, sweet/acid, pleasant but not outstanding. Unless you have lots of space, or a strong hobby interest, it is better to grow a smaller species such as the purple passionfruit. \
PASSIONFRUIT, PURPLE Passiflora edulis This fast growing vine is vigorous, very easy care, and quite ornamental with it's dark green, glossy leaves and interesting purple and white fringed flowers. The vine needs something to climb on, a trellis, wires, a shed-all will do. The fruit are a bit bigger than golf ball size, purple skinned, and produced in profusion. They are ready when they fall from the vine. The fruit are excellent at this stage, but become even sweeter and more flavored if they are collected and allowed to shrivel slightly. Fruit have to be collected from the ground regularly, because they can sunburn. Rootrot is the main problem, and the only cure is prevention. Grow Passionfruit in well drained soil. They plants aren't long lived, and can be replaced after 5 or 6 years. Give the plants a dressing of a balanced fertiliser several times a year.
growing Some brief cultural notes on
the purple passionfruit, and brief notes on other species
in New Zealand Commercially oriented, but
very good notes by the former MAF Horticulture group. Especially
good on pruning and care. Note: the recommendations on P.
mollissima growing should not be implemented in New
Zealand, as this species is now regarded as a weed.
persica-The peach does best where there is a hot and dry
summer climate. In humid coastal areas they are subject to
fungal diseases, chiefly leaf curl, which causes defoliation,
and brown rot, which rots the fruit just at or before
maturity. A single copper spray at leaf drop largely takes
care of leaf curl, but preventing brown rot requires some
fairly staunch fungicides applied every few weeks of the
season, and applied thoroughly. Peaches really need reasonably
free draining soil. The best strategy for the urban food
gardener in the humid parts of the wtz is to keep the trees
healthy with excellent nutrition, grow less suceptible
varieties, and hope for a dryish spring and summer. Removing
infected fruit also helps keep the infective spore load down.
Most peach varieties are self fruitful. However, if you are
planting 'J. H. Hale', 'Stark Honeydew Hale', or 'Stark Hale
Berta Giant', you need to plant another variety to assure
adequate pollination. The dwarf peaches make spraying more
feasible, but the fruit quality doesn't really match the
mainstream cultivars. There are definite strong landscape
values from the highly ornamental pink spring blossoms, and
there are some cultivars that have exceptional connoisseur
eating quality, which, because they are too soft, or too small
etc, will never appear in the supermarkets. Peaches come into
bearing quickly, within 3 years of planting, and if the
variety is matched correctly to your local climatic
conditions, are reliably productive. Peaches do, however, need
extensive pruning every year. They do best in dry summer
areas, and are relatively short lived in cooler and wet or
humid summer areas. If you have the right climate, a free
draining soil, and are prepared to prune, then peaches can be
immensely rewarding of exceptional tree ripened fruit and
connoisseur fruit not commercially available. Peaches don't
ripen well in storage, and commercial peaches are picked just
prior to softening to enable shipping, and many modern
varieties achieve high color well before they are mature, so
even a good looking peach at the market won't necessarily have
the accumulation of sugars you can achieve by letting your
crop of the same variety hang on the tree to softening. If you
live in a cool or wet summer area, then you will have to be
dedicated, and expect some disappointments, especially in cool
The peach fruits quickly from seed, and there have been vast numbers of varieties developed over the years. It is a relatively short lived tree, for a variety of reasons, except in dry climates. Therefore a vast number of cultivars have also been abandoned or superceded over the years. Seek out a knowledgeable specialist nursery person or a authoratative book for advice on cultivars, or see the links below.
& Nectarine growing in USA, North Carolina JJJJ A very good, detailed page on everything about peach
culture in North Carolina, with particular reference to cultivar
chilling requirements. Brief notes on 27 cultivars. Written for
commercial orcharding, but the principles remain the same for us
home gardeners. From the North Carolina Cooperative Extension
Service, NC State University.
Pyrus communis Pears do well even in drier, hot inland
climatic conditions. In some countries, particularly USA, dry
summer weather is essential to control the spread of
fireblight, a bactarial disease whose spread is enhanced by
humid weather. Oregon 18 and Old Home are highly resistant to
fireblight. In contrast, most of the common dessert pear
cultivars (Bartlett, Beurré Bosc, Beurré
d'Anjou, Doyenné du Comice, Packham's Triumph and
Winter Nelis) and rootstocks (Quince A and C) are highly
susceptible. Fireblight is present in New Zealand, but is not
a problem, for reason's poorly understood. Fireblight is
effectively not present in Australia. Pears grafted on
dwarfing rootstocks such as quince rootstock reach only
2-3M/6-10ft. Grafted onto pear seedlings they can grow
anything from 4-8M/13 ft 4inches-26ft 6inches. Unlike
apples, which are ripe when they look ripe, pears are
difficult to pick at exactly the ripe stage: picked too soon
they are poor quality, picked too late and they go soft in the
middle. Most high quality cultivars are available commercially
at the supermarkets, and given the need to spray, the space
could probably be used more profitably by an apple tree.
The pear is very amenable to training into cordons and espaliers and other such architectural landscape forms, and when well done makes a magnificent spring show of white blossom.
Pears are self infertile, and must have another suitable variety as a pollinator. Plant pears in pairs, you might say.
Beurre Bosc is pollenized by William Bon Chretian and Winter Nelis. It has excellent connoisseur quality.
Doyen du Comice is pollenized by William Bon Chretian and Winter Nelis plus Beurre Bosc. A good cultivar for areas with cool summers and mild (low chill) winters. A premier connoisseur pear when grown in conditions that suit it.
Louise bon de Jersey is pollenized by Conference
Packham's Triumph is pollenized by William bon Chretien;
Bartlett/William bon Chretien is pollenized by Buerre Bosc, Clapp's Favorite, and Winter Nelis;A good cultivar for areas with cool summers and mild (low chill) winter
Winter Nelis is a small late season pear, and it will store for several months without refrigeration without breaking down. Winter Nelis is pollenized by Buerre Bosc and William Bon Chretien.
in New Zealand JJ
Brief notes on the fruit and pollenizer requirements
of 14 cultivars of pears for New Zealand home gardeners. A
Hub fact sheet.
of Pear Cultivars JJJJ
80 Color plates from the book 'The Pears of New York' by
U. P. Hedrick, published by the New York Agricultural Experiment
Station in 1921, and scanned in by the US Department of
Agriculture National Clonal Germplasm Repository at Corvallis,
Oregon. Older varieties only illustrated, but done superbly.
Growing Pejibaye - from the Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University Site, an extract from Julia Morton's Book 'Fruits of warm climates'. Covers Description, Origin and Distribution, varieties, suitable climates and soils, propagation, culture, harvesting, pests and diseases and more. Concise, informative. 3 good photos of fruit and the palm
PERSIMMON Diospyros kaki - The
oriental persimmon fruit speak of great possibilities-at their
best they are the nectar of the Gods, and more often they are
disappointing or good but with an unpleasant edge. The fruit
are very variable in all respects-size, shape, seeded or not,
sweetness, texture, tree form, vigor, and autumn coloring.
Persimons need a fairly warm, long growing season to pump up
the sugars and to eliminate the major bugbear of
persimmons-the tannins in the flesh. All persimmon cultivars
have tannins, it's just that some have naturally much lower
levels. Some have such low levels that the fruit can be eaten
while it is still firm. These 'firm ripe' cultivars include
most of the commercial supermarket varieties, such as 'Fuyu'.
While sweet, the fruit have little real flavor at this stage,
tasting more or less like a sweet carrot. These low tannin
types are referred to as 'non-astringent' persimmons. If these
fruit are left on the tree to mature fully, they become full
of rich flavor once picked and left to soften. The other group
of persimmons (altho' the amount of tannin in various
cultivars is really a gradation from one extreme to the other,
rather than fitting into two groups) have so much tannin that
they cannot be eaten when they are colored but still hard.
They have to be left as long as possible on the tree, and then
picked and left to become very soft indoors. If your area is
not warm enough, or the season is cool, there is a tendency
for persimmon cultivars with the highest amount of tannin to
still have some residual astringency left even when soft ripe.
Adequate heat in the growing season is the prime factor in
assuring tannin free fruit for any persimmon. The best bet is
to go for fine flavored fruit, where they are obtainable, and
in cooler areas select from the non-astringent group which are
least likely to have residual astringency when fully soft
ripe. Pesimmons need some shelter from wind, as the beautiful
new spring growth is quite tender. They will grow in a wide
variety of soils as long as it is not waterlogged. Persimmons
strictly don't need pruning, as, with a few notable
exceptions, they are relatively moderate growing trees. But,
as the fruit is borne on the outside of the canopy, the fruit
will end up further and further out of reach. And birds love
persimmons. The only way to be sure of harvesting tree ripened
fruit-vital for varieties with high levels of tannin-is to
individually bag each fruit, or net the tree. If you are going
to net the tree then you will need to prune after fruiting to
keep the size manageable. Persimmons fruit on current seasons
growth. They will start bearing fruit about the third year in
Fuyu-low tannin variety, needs warmth, very good when tree ripened.(US, NZ, AU)
Izu-low tannin variety, small tree (US, NZ)
Jiro-low tannin variety, very large fruit, fairly small tree (US, NZ, AU)
Tanenashi-moderate tannin, must be eaten soft ripe, large, conic fruit, pasty textured flesh, heavy bearer, reliable, good autumn colors (NZ)
Hiratanenashi-moderate tannin, must be eaten soft ripe, medium sized flattened fruit, extremely vigorous and upright tree.(NZ)
Wrights favourite-moderate tannin, must be eaten soft ripe, very sweet superb flavor, reliable, productive (NZ)
Hachiya-moderate tannin, must be eaten soft ripe, large, conic, excellent flesh texture and flavor (US, NZ)
Persimmon in USA-North Carolina JJJ From the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, a good one page review covering pros and cons, brief vaiety notes, planting, fertilizing, harvesting. A good overview.
P.salicina, P.insititia- The 'common plum' of Europe (P.domestica)
includes some of the most excellent connoisseur varieties
there are; as well as many mediocre or worse. Certain European
plums are also used for drying into the dried plums we call
'prunes' (from the name of the genus, 'Prunus' ). The
winter chilling requirements (cold is needed initiate flower
buds and promote spring leaf bud burst) for European plums is
about the same as for apples. The disease 'brown rot' can
damage flowers and fruit in humid areas. The 'Japanese' plums
(P.salicinia) are not Japanese, they originate from
China. 'Japanese' plums need less chilling again than European
plums and bloom very early in spring, which makes them well
suited to the wtz- except for frost pocket areas where early
blossom may be damaged. Brown rot can also affect 'Japanese'
plums in humid maritime areas, but usually only the mature
fruit. Damsons (P.insititia), vary quite a bit in the
amount of chilling they need, so while some cultivars will be
extremely fruitful in the wtz, others will not. The fruit are
usually small to medium sized, often tart but the tartness
reducing the longer it hangs on the tree. Some varieties are
not tart at all, but sweet and pleasant. Damsons are noted for
their adaptability and extreme productivity. Greengage
(P.domestica) there seem to be various forms of
greengage, some vigorous, some not, some freestone, some semi
freestone. This is one of the most exquisite plums that can be
grown, so it is important to buy a tree propogated from a
greengage that is actually fruiting in your region. Japanese
plums bloom earlier than European plums, and for this reason
the two types will not usually pollenize each other. Plums
generally need to be cross pollenizedd by another variety. If
you don't have space for two trees, try to get a double
grafted tree, or select a variety that is self fertile and
doesn't need a pollenizer. There are no fully dwarfing
rootstocks for plums, but plum trees can be naturally small.
Usually they are medium sized trees, altho they can be pruned
lower. They naturally need little pruning, and what pruning is
needed is done after cropping. Plums do best on a good soil,
but they are also relatively tolerant of less than ideal
drainage. They are affected by diseases, the importance and
severity of which depends on how wet and humid your climate
is, and whether you can be bothereed spraying. But, as a
generalisation, you can get away with not spraying the tree in
most areas. The most important drawback is that birds will
cause a lot of damage unless you have a tree and crop big
enough for the birds and yourself. Small trees can be netted.
The other negative is that, like all stonefruit, the plum is
suceptible to a serious fungal disease called 'silverleaf'.
Silverleaf iseriously damages the tree, and often weakens it
so much it eventually dies The trees can be vaccinated with a
biological control agent when they are young, and that more or
less solves the problem.
'Stanley'(UK,USA), the number one European type, is self fruitful. 'Bluefree'(USA) and 'Stanley' are the most common pollenizers for European plums.'Greengage'(USA,UK,NZ,AU) is pollenized by 'Coe's Golden Drop'(USA,UK,NZ,AU) or 'Diamond'(USA,UK,NZ,AU). 'Redheart'(USA) is one of the best pollenizers for Japanese plums. 'Santa Rosa'(USA,NZ,AU), one of the most widely planted Japanese plum is partly self fertile. 'Burgundy'(USA), 'Kelsey'(USA) 'Nubiana'(USA), 'Simka'(USA) 'Methley'(USA) are fully self fertile and don't need a pollenizing variety.
Plum/Prune for areas with cool summers and mild winters: try Methley, Beauty, Shiro, Early Italian, Seneca
Plum cultivars The Hub's brief notes on 59 plum cultivars (European, prune, Japanese, cold hardy), and links to plum sites.
Plums in New Zealand
POMEGRANTEPunica granatum This is a useful home garden small (about 4.5M/10 feet high and wide) shrubby tree about for those drier and hotter areas where it matures fruit well. Pomegrantes will grow and fruit in most parts of the warm temperate zone, but only in the hottest and most mediterranean like parts of the wtz will the trees bear regularly and bear fruit worth having. The trees are deciduous, and stand heavy frost, but late spring frosts will wipe out the flower buds. The red flowers are very attractive, as are the small apple sized pinky red fruit. The plant itself grows on most soils, needs little pruning, and will start bearing in about it's fourth year in the ground. It is also amenable to espaliering and pruning to shape. The fruit are normally grown for their juice, which in the best varieties is a mix of sweet and tart. They are self fertile, and one tree would probably bear more than you would want to eat.
PUMMELO Citrus grandis Pummelos are similar to American grapefruits, only bigger. They are very popular in Asia, and there are a range of flavors, from sweet to sour, and a range of flesh colors, from pale yellow to red. Interestingly, they are slightly better adapted to the more cool parts of the warm temperate areas than grapefruit, which need high heat and a long growing season. The quality of the fruit is not as good as in the hotter areas, with a tendency to very thick flesh and high acidity. Nevertheless, the best microclimates can successfully mature these fruit. Probably best regarded as a collectors ite, unless you have plenty of space to try other citrus. They require the usual citrus conditions of free draining soil, organic mulch and/or water in summer, regular feeding in the growing season, shelter, full sun.
QUINCE Cydonia oblonga The quince needs less chilling than apples or pears, and it seems adapted to both humid and hot dry areas. They are self fertile, adaptable as to soil, have beautiful quite large pink spring flowers, and bear heavily when well established. The fragrant yellow fruit are the size of a large lemon, but can't be eaten fresh. They are only useful for cooking. In addition, in humid areas they are subject to leaf spot diseases. And they can sucker from the base quite persistantly, which can be annoying. Unless you want to cook with quinces, use the space for something else.
RARE FRUIT -
there are gazillions of species, ecotypes, and forms of fruit
plants that could be grown, but, for a wide variety of
reasons, rarely are. For further information, thrash around in
the sites listed below, or use the search facility on top of
the index (or any good search engine).
in New Zealand
A page from the Tauranga, New Zealand, Tree Crops Association listing and commenting on some of the rare fruit encountered on their 1999 field trip. Post the end of the new crop/rare fruit boom of the early eighties and the corporatisation of the DSIR, rare fruit are now extremely rare in New Zealand, so of interest.
RASPBERRY Rubus idaeus For
practical purposes, there are two main groups of
raspberries-summer fruiting, and autumn fruiting.. Summer
fruiting black raspberries ('blackcaps') will only fruit in
the very coolest part of warm temperate areas-they are really
a temperate fruit. Some purple raspberry cultivars (derived
from crosses of red and black raspberries) fruit well in low
chill but cool summer parts of the warm temperate zone. Even
red rasberries must be carefully selected, as few are adapted
to the relatively low winter chill conditions of warm
temperate areas. European raspberries need substantial chill,
and it is usually hybrids derived from American native red
raspberries that do best in warmer areas. Raspberries
are very much worth growing. Well grown, they produce a great
deal of fruit. And the fully cane ripened fruit has the
highest connoisseur qualities. The flavor and aroma of
raspberries is intense and universally liked. A soft, fully
ripe raspberry is a fruit without compare.
But they require more work than a lot of other fruits. True, they are usually grown in rows, and can therefore be fitted into awkward spaces. And they will take a little shade. But the canes of vigorous varieties of summer raspberries flop all over the place and scratch you with their tiny little sharp stem prickles if you don't tie them up. So you need a wall with a wire, or a free standing wire to tie them to. Purple raspberries have particularly long canes, and if you don't tie them up, the tips will take root where they touch the ground. Red raspberries sucker like crazy. True, some suckers are needed for next years crop, but many suckers appear at quite some distance from the plant. If they appear in the lawn, they can be mowed. But if they appear anywhere where you need to spray with herbicide, you can kiss your raspberries goodbye.The only way to prevent suckers spreading is to bury tin or some other barrier material 60cm/2 feet in the ground around the edge of the row. Some cultivars sucker a lot, others relatively little. The other caveat with raspberries is that they are prone to root rot, or rather, fungal infection of the roots-even on well drained soil. Again, some are more prone to root disease than others. The only thing you can do is plant in ground that hasn't had tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, or peppers in it, and provide good drainage and a lot of organic material and mulch. Having edged, added organic material, fertilised regularly through the growing season, mulched, tied up the canes for this summers crop, removed superfluous suckers, then you can expect heavy flowering and a good crop. So long as you net the row to keep the birds from stealing it. But it's all worth it.
Autumn raspberries are pruned to near ground level in winter, and the new season growth flowers and fruits in the following autumn. Heritage is the best autumn raspberry for warm area.
Amethyst purple raspberry does well in warm temperate conditions. It has slightly more acid fruit than most raspberries, but is very vigorous-if stout prickled-and reliable.
Willamette red summer raspberry is also reasonabley well adapted to parts of the wtz.
'Juneberry'. A hardy tall shrub that produces small pleasant
berries for fresh eating or use in pemmican or preserves. Self
STRAWBERRIES Fragaria x ananassa Strawberries
are an excellent choice for the home fruit gardener, so long
as the plants are replaced after two crops, they are covered
against birds, and a flavorsome variety is available to grow.
The highly colored fruit of the supermarket look fantastic,
but they often lack sweetness and flavor and are very
disappointing.Growing the same commercial varieties at home
brings little improvement in flavor or sweetness, if any. The
best strategy is to try to find a cultivar known for it's
flavor, such as 'Captain Cook'. These are not always as
productive, and the fruit may be smaller, and in some cases
much softer, but the flavor and sweetness is a revelation.
Unfortuneately, such varieties are now very difficult to find.
Strawberries need fertile soil, free drainage (they are very
subject to root disease), and constant evenly moist soil. Pull
the first flowers off to allow the plant to make good leaf
growth to sustain a good crop. Strawberries get leaf spotting
diseases, but as long the plants are well fed, kept moist, and
replaced after several years, it is not worth spraying. If
there is a great deal of rain at fruiting, some or all of the
fruit will be affected with the grey mould fungus.You can do
preventative fungicide spraying, but most years the damage is
within acceptable limits, so you can usually live with it.
Everbearing strawberries are able to flower and fruit for as long as the temperatures are high enough, which is a relatively restricted part of the warm temperate zone.
Strawberries in the home garden A very good basic fact sheet on all aspects of strawberry growing at home -varieties, soils, weeding, mulching, fertiliser, and so on. Produced by the North Carolina State University Co-operative Extension, USA, and therefore reflecting local climatic conditions, it is nevertheless reasonably universally applicable.
SURINAM CHERRY Eugenia uniflora 'Pitanga', 'Brazilian cherry'.A very useful plant for the home food garden, because it is a small leafed, wiry stemmed bushy tree or a large shrub (with small creamy white flowers), and won't form massive roots that can damage paved areas, and because it will remain fruitful even when trimmed to fit into a narrow space, such as a border. It can also be clipped into a fruiting hedge. The shiny small leaves are very attractive, as is the bronzy red tender new growth, and it has quite good autumn foliage. That said, it is really only adapted to the very warmest parts of the warm temperate areas. The juicy fruit is small, thin skinned, about 1-1½ inches/3-4 cms wide, vaguely roundish, with 8 deep grooves running longitudinally, and with a fairly large stone. The fruit is very variable, most trees producing clusters of acid red fruit, and with some producing rather resinous, unpleasant fruit. The best types are mild, aromatic, subacid and sweet, with a melting quality, and very pleasant. 'Lorver' and 'Westree' are two very good flavored cultivars. Fruit color varies from red to almost black. Selected varieties can be hard to find. They are very slow to come into fruit in the wtz, and when they do it is in early summer. Very often they will flower again immediately after fruiting. Fruiting usually begins 8 or 9 years after planting. An attractive small shrubby tree, but not one most people will be prepared to wait for fruit from.
betaceae This small, short lived tree produces smooth,
oval, egg sized, red or yellow fruit with red or yellow sweet
and quite high acid pulp. Some cultivars are very mild, being
moderately sweet and low acid. Selected, well ripened
varieties are good eating fresh, some are only useful for
cooking. The pure yellow form is least useful, as it lacks
acidity, and the small ornage form is sweetest with the
highest flavor. Red fleshed varieties need to be very ripe, as
they have high acidity. Improved varieties are now very hard
to locate, as less fruit is grown and no germplasm or cultivar
collections exist anywhere in the world for this fruit any
Little Sweet-small orange fruit with orange flesh, high sweetness, high flavor and moderate acidity. Extremely hard to find. (NZ)
Oratia Red-standard commercial red skinned and fleshed variety. Good when fully ripe.(US, NZ, AU)
Goldmine-Red skinned, yellow fleshed variety with very good sweetness. A tendency to be a bit gritty in the fruit wall.(NZ)
Cynthia-A red skinned and red fleshed type which has outstanding sweetness. Now probably extinct. (NZ)
Inca Gold-golden yellow skin and orange-yellow flesh, mild flavor.
TANGELO- A cross between a mandarin and
(usually) a grapefruit or (sometimes) a pummelo. They are
somewhere between an orange and a grapefruit in hardiness, and
in cooler areas the fruit can be quite acid. Tangeloes fruit
better when there is a mandarin (not another tangelo) nearby
to pollinate them. Tangeloes make a medium to large sized tree
in time, and will bear far more fruit than you would want to
eat, given that most tangeloes have quite a bit of acid in
them. The fruit tend to be seedy, and very juicy. They peel
fairly well. The bright orange red fruit are very ornamental,
and the white flowers, like most citrus, attractive. The best
quality fruit come from the very warmest and long season
areas. The fruit mature in late winter/spring. There is a good
arguement for buying, rather than growing this fruit.
Minneola-the common commercial tangelo. The fruit are highly colored, with a prominent neck, and are carried on a vigorous tree.
Orlando-is difficult to peel, seedy, juicy, sweet, and needs a lot of heat
Seminole-is moderately easy to peel, soft, extremely juicy (messy to eat), and has to change from orange-red to orange-yellow before it is ripe. Picked too soon it is very acid, when dead ripe it has very high sugars along with the acidity.
Tangors are a cross between a 'tangerine' (old name for
the mandarin, no longer used) and an orange. Some so called
mandarins are in fact natural mandarin-orange hybrids, for
example 'Clementine' mandarin. Tangors need a lot of heat, but
paradoxically, they are subject to sunburn in intense heat
inland areas. This rather restricts their range. Dweet will
fruit in the warmest range of the mild summer areas, but the
fruit quality is not as good as it should be.
Dweet-a medium to large, fairly thick skinned fruit that is somewaht difficult to peel. The fruit is very juicy, and the favor moderately sweet with unusual grapefuity undertones. Left on the tree it tends to dry out and become puffy.
Temple-similar in appearace to Dweet, peels better, with the same complex flavor. It must have heat or the fruit are acid and dry. Poorly adapted to warm temperate areas.
TARA BERRY Actinidia arguta-See "HARDY KIWIFRUIT"
TAYBERRY- Early season. A cross between the
blackberry 'Aurora'and a Raspberry. The fruit are long
conical, large and dark red with very good flavor. Some people
consider it the best of the raspberry-blackberry hybrids. The
canes are Long, thorny, and moderately vigorous .Grow as for blackberry.
UGLI Possibly a hybrid of a grapefruit and a mandarin (and therefore is strictly a type of tangelo), the Ugli forms a larger tree than most mandarins, and required more heat. The fruit are large, with very thick, often deeply corrugated, pale orange skin, but easy peel. It is sometimes a little difficult to pick exactly when they are ripe-they are acid when they are underripe, and they dry out quickly if they are overipe.Definitely worth a place in a collection, but not at the expense of a mandarin.
UVALHA Eugenia uvalha (Sp. lit 'little grape') A typical subtropical eugenia, the Uvalha is a slow growing, narrow leafed, Myrtaceous 'powder puff' creamy-white flowered small shrubby tree. As long as the previous winter has been particularly mild, In mid summer it bears (usually meagerly) yellow 2.5cm/1 inch diameter fruit that are pleasant and slightly acid. There is a single, pea sized seed. The tree is slightly frost hardy. However, it takes a long time to come into fruit from seed, maybe ten years, and so is best left to the very interested.
WINEBERRY Rubus phoenicolasius-
'Japanese Wineberry'. A species from eastern Asia that has
masses of very small shiny mid red berries. The berries have
little flavor, but are pleasant. Their main use is to annoy
visitors by saying "I bet you don't know what these are". They
pick very easily, but the 'plug' is large and the fruit small,
so they have a large central cavity when picked. The stems are
packed with soft spine like prickles, which are no real
problem. The vines are stout and vigorous, but easily trained.
The plant itself has reddish stems, giving it good winter
landscape values. Birds adore this fruit, so it has to be
netted. It is also easily spread by birds.
PicturesJJJJ of the plant and fruit, plus brief descriptive notes, from the College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech, USA
BERRY Rubus hybrid. Early to mid season. The
Youngberry is a cross between the Phenomonal berry (very
similar to the loganberry) and the dewberry. The fruit are
wine-red to black, very shiny, and smaller and rounder than an
Olallie.The flavor is sweet, mild, and is much more likely to
be acceptably edible even if it is picked a little immature,
as different from boysenberry and blackberry.The plants are
moderately vigorous. There is a thornless version. Culture is
as for blackberry.
AJ is your source on the internet for everything about apples. New countries and regions are being added continually to our Orchard Trail section. Find growers in your neighborhood and get to know them. Look up different apple varieties to learn more about them.
visit Apple Journal