Sunday, February 7, 2010

What's In The Name?

When I start discussing Citrus with people most of them think, Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Grapefruit. Sometimes they may even think Tangerines and Kumquats. Which is fine and dandy. What a lot of people don't realize is, Citrus can hybridize very easily. It could be a natural cross or a man made cross. Sometimes it creates some very interesting and at times very funny names. You may even know a few of these and didn't know why they are called what they are.
I will start out with a more common one:

Tangelo: Usually found in the grocery store as Minneola Tangelo. You may know this one with the funny looking neck. This is a cross between a Tangerine (Tang) and a Pummelo (elo). The Pummelo is the grandfather of the Grapefruit. Pummelos can also be found in the stores today.
Now you know how they come up with the names, sometimes. There are times that how they come up with the name completely escapes me, like the Razzlequat (Kumquat and an Australian Citrus)
With the Tangelo there is also the:
Citrumelo (Pummelo and Poncirus trifoliata)

Anything with quat in it I find funny. Kumquat, etc. Some funny and interesting ones that come from Kumquat hybrids are:
Eustis Limequat (Lime and Kumquat)
Procimequat (Kumquat and Eustis Limequat)
Lemonquat (Lemon and Kumquat)
Orangequat (Kumquat and Satsuma Orange)

Then there are the crosses with Mandarins:
Citrandin (Mandarin and Poncirus trifoliata)
Calamandarin (Calamondin and Mandarin)

The Poncirus trifoliata makes some of the most unusual names:
Citraldin (Poncirus trifoliata and Calamondin)
Citremon (Poncirus trifoliata and Meyer Lemon)
Tai-Tri (Poncirus trifoliata and Citrus taiwanica)

I know what you are thinking, I am making these names up! Actually,there are many,many more crosses out there. Much too many to list here. Sometimes truth is funnier than fiction, I am not sure I could even come up with many of these on my own.
Then of course, there is the favorite cross of many folks out there, many of whom don't even know it's a cross. The Meyer Lemon. This is a cross between a Lemon and a Sweet Orange. So sad to say, it's not a true Lemon.
Do you grow more than one or two different varieties of Citrus? Why not try hybridizing your own? There is all kinds of tutorials on the web about crossing varieties and hybridizing. Just make sure you write down the two parents so maybe someday you can claim that you created something like the Yuzuquat (Yuzu and Kumquat) or the Yuzvange (Yuzu and Savage Citrange)!
Happy Growing!

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