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).
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
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]