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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Some Bitter, Some Sweet

I have some citrus trees in my backyard, and one in particular has returned an amazing harvest this year. It is an orange tree that has been in that spot for many years, even through a horrendous fire that swept the mountain on September 23rd, 2012. During that fire the tree was severely singed from the intense heat, but not the actual fire. It survived but lay dormant during the following two years, and in 2015 it produced some fruit as a comeback, but not much.

Last year it produced a bumper crop of fruit, so much so that the tree is still heavily laden. We have had so many oranges and mandarins that I think that when the trees are all bare again we shall never want to see another orange. (Until the next season.)

However, this tree held a surprise for us that worked perfectly. It has been my practise to go and stand under the tree and pluck an orange and eat it there and then. I was happy to taste my first one from that tree to find it sweet and nice and juicy. The second one I eagerly bit into,  only to find it super bitter. Yuk! That put me off for the day but days later when I returned to the tree I enjoyed another one that was sweet. You guessed it; the next one was sooo bitter that my shoulders shook. I do not believe in coincidences so something was just not right here.

When I took a close look the fruit on the right side of the tree was covered with smooth skins and on the left the skins are dimpled. Same tree, two vastly different species of fruit. The bitter orange is grown for the making of marmalade. If I had wanted to have both types on the same tree I would have done some grafting to make it happen, but even then I doubt if it would have worked.

I have Googled "Seville and Valencia oranges on the same tree," and variations of the same question and I got no responses. That leads me to believe that we have a curious accident here but what is the value of it? I doubt that the sweetness of the Valencia orange is at all compromised, and I didn't do that much research on the Seville orange to know whether it's bitterness was altered in any way. Bitter is bitter, enough said.

I have to assume that this came about as a result of the damage caused during the fire but what the actual dynamics would have been remains a mystery. I must call in some farmers to get their opinion. I will keep readers informed.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael