A frost hardy hybrid
Today I’ll show you the fruits that I was recently sent. They come from a frost hardy citrus, a hybrid of trifoliate orange. It’s probably a second generation citrandarin.1There’s a slight chance that it’s another, unidentified hybrid of Poncirus.
What is citrandarin HRS899?
Briefly about the cultivar’s history. In the 90’s, Bernhard Voss – a citrus breeder – planted HRS899 citrandarin seeds. That citrandarin is said to be a hybrid of trifoliate orange and a frost hardy mandarin, Changsha.
The obtained seedlings varied in appearance and frost hardiness, which is typical for F2 generation. B. Voss has named the seedlings with the letters from A to R.2https://web.archive.org/web/20130108154148fw_/http://www.agrumi-voss.de/hrs.htm The cultivar that I’m describing here is probably HRS899 O or Q.
The fruits’ quality
The fruits resemble Poncirus? Yes, they do. Also the skin smells similarly to the trifoliate orange. The owner of the plant, from whom I got the fruits, admits that it’s very cold hardy and has much resemblance to Poncirus. Will the fruits be inedible then?
After cutting the fruit you can see thick skin, greenish or lightly orange pulp and seeds. From five fruits I’ve got thirty seeds, that is six seeds per fruit on average. The seed count is less than in Poncirus, but anyway the fruits are small, so there’s not much pulp.
The fruits of trifoliate orange have most of the smell in the outer skin, and their pulp is not much scented. Here it’s different. The flesh of this citrandarin is aromatic. The fragrance is distinct, but hard to describe. It’s kind of fruity, however I wouldn’t compare it with an orange or lemon. It’s something different.
When the pulp is tasted raw, it’s quite sour and has this hard to describe fruity taste. Many of the readers will be probably curious whether it contains the sticky resin. The answer is yes, but the resin is not as noticeable as in trifoliata fruits. It also dissolves in water more easily.
I squeezed the fruits. There was not much juice, but it was very concentrated. After adding a lot of water it turned into a lemonade (in the photo). The drink is quite tasty – aromatic and only slightly acidic. However, due to the presence of resin I won’t judge whether it is edible or not, especially when consumed raw.
I see this citrus as an improved trifoliate orange. The fruits, despite being similar to Poncirus, are a positive suprise. They have a quite pleasant aroma and taste, and the resin is less noticeable.
Now it’s time to test it in our climate. I’ve already sown the seeds. I also hope that this cultivar retains enough heterozygosity to produce interesting variations in offspring. That would be third generation hybrids.
From time to time, I will post on the group about the growth of seedlings. I’ll be also posting some bigger updates on the progress here, on the blog.