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How does your garden grow?  By Eric Danell, Dokmai Garden

 

The Calamondin orange

Last year’s excessive rain fall and a parasite infestation (Dendrophthoe) damaged the Dokmai Garden mandarins, only one specimen stands tall.

Another citrus which seemed to have enjoyed the rains, and now looks more prosperous than ever, is a variegated citrus cultivar I picked up at the Khamtieng flower market downtown Chiang Mai. Originally I planted it with the sole purpose to use its sour immature green fruits when experimenting with the miracle fruit. However, the abundant fruit production of this citrus made me taste a yellow mature fruit – really nice! The fruit’s juice is a wonderful addition to a glass of drinking water and the fruits are sometimes used in Thai cooking as a substitute for lime (although my Thai family detests it).

The variegated calamondin is quite hardy even with last year’s heavy rains.

Many people have asked me what it is, and even collected seeds for their home plantations. I have always dismissed it as an ‘ornamental citrus hybrid’, but due to its superior characters I have recently devoted plenty of time to track down what it really is.
Calamondin or calamansi (Citrus x microcarpa= X Citrofortunella microcarpa) is a cross between kumquat (Citrus japonica) and mandarin (Citrus reticulata).

So, what do we have at Dokmai Garden? The seeds’ interior green colour suggests kumquat genes, but a pure kumquat is not growing in this upright manner. A limequat is usually egg-shaped, our fruits are more mandarin-like. A calamondin (from Tagalog ‘kalamunding’) has indeed upright growth and flattened (when mature) fruits easy to peel like a mandarin. It turns out there are at least three names for a variegated calamondin: ‘Variegata’, ‘Tiger’ and ‘Peters’. If these names refer to different cultivars, or to the same, I do not know, but in conclusion I should say that our variegated citrus is a ‘Variegated calamondin’ Citrus x microcarpa ‘Variegata’.

If you wish to grow it, and you should, make sure it has full sun for abundant flower and fruit production, and water it generously but without causing water logging. I do not know if seedlings work well, as most commercial citruses are grafted onto hardy rootstocks. www.dokmaigarden.co.th. [email protected]
 


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The Calamondin orange