Calamondin --- Little Orange Tree
June 21, 2018 2:36pm CST
We call our plant Little Orange Tree, but this is not its official name. The Latin term is Citrus mitis, but the English and German gardeners' sites on the net use the term Calamondin (which I'm going to use from now on). The term comes from Tagalog, the language of the Philippines. 'Kalamunding' means: 1) a small citrus tree 2) the small, tangerine like fruit of this tree This perennial shrub is a cross between the kumquat and the tangerine. The fruit soon earned the nickname 'acid oranges' because of their taste which is both sweet but also so acid that it's hard to swallow a bit without pulling a face. It closes the holes in your socks as the Germans say. We haven't got it, however, to have a supply of fresh vitamins at all times, but because it looks nice. We bought the Calamondin eight years ago. It stood on the window sill of our living-room for a while. But then it started growing and growing. We took it up to the (uninhabited) flat on the second floor which has a sunny room. We've decided to leave it there all year round. It‘s become too heavy to carry. It likes it there. The leaves are dark green and shiny and it's full of fruit. It's difficult to count the fruit because one characteristic of the calamondin is that it has white blossoms, tiny dark green fruits the size of a marble, ripe orange fruits the size of a table-tennis ball and everything colour-wise and size-wise in between simultaneously. Another characteristic is that the ripe calamondins rarely fall off. I may have picked up about five from the carpet over the years. This means that it is really a very attractive plant for a flat or a house. There's always something new to look at and the smell of the blossoms is lovely. You may want to know how we care for and maintain our Calamondin so that it's thriving well. What we did right according to the guidelines is that the pot has a considerable size and the roots have room to expand. It gets many hours of afternoon sunlight provided the sun is shining, of course. It stands in front of the door of a balcony. When the door to the balcony is open, it gets fresh air but no draught. "Water your Calamondin sparingly and according to growth stage and season. It requires a thorough watering to the point of soaking the roots once every 10 days or so" is what the guidelines say. We haven't had to inform ourselves what to do in case of spider mites, foliar mealy bugs, aphids and scale insects which seem to love Calamondins as we've never discovered any. Now we come to the last point, the mystery surrounding our specimen. Where do the Calamondins come from? According to the laws of botany, someone or something must pollinate the blossoms, right? But I can't tell you who or what is the pollinator in our house. The door of the balcony is only open when I'm sitting outside. I've never noticed bees, bumble-bees, wasps or hornets (we've got a hornets' nest in the attic) doing the job. There's no wind in the room. We've never acted as pollinators ourselves using a paintbrush to dab each blossom. We'll never know, but we're grateful to the unknown and diligent pollinator(s).
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I haven't eaten the fruits. They are too acid. I've found this explanation on Wikipedia concerning self-pollination: One type of automatic self-pollination occurs in the orchid Ophrys apifera. One of the two pollinia bends itself towards the stigma. Self-pollination is when pollen from the same plant arrives at the stigma of a flower (in flowering plants) or at the ovule (in gymnosperms). There are two types of self-pollination: in autogamy, pollen is transferred to the stigma of the same flower; in geitonogamy, pollen is transferred from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower on the same flowering plant, or from microsporangium to ovule within a single (monoecious) gymnosperm. Some plants have mechanisms that ensure autogamy, such as flowers that do not open (cleistogamy), or stamens that move to come into contact with the stigma.
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I love the expression 'It closes the holes in your socks' gosh it must be sour. Perhaps it would make delicious marmalade? Which reminds me I watered my wifes plants this morning. I kept forgetting. She has been away for just over three weeks. They don't look as bad as the last time she went away for 3 months and I only remembered two day before she came home! You look after that well. It must be lovely to see the different colours and brightens up the room.
They are called calamansi in large parts of Southeast Asia and " kalamansi " specifically in the Philippines. My wife use to have a grafted plant in our back yard and the fruits were for home consumption. Although insects are very helpful in propagation, the calamansi flower is very fertile, in fact so fertile that they do not need to have any kind of cross pollination, that is the answer to the no pollinator mystery. It's also the reason why they could also be kept indoors for ornamental purposes but needs to be brought out in the sun from time to time. *Edit: these types of plants are called " self fertile" Almost forgot and needed to look it up again.