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Can Cross Pollination Effect the Flavour of Citrus

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Don Weber starts with ...
I have lime, lemon, tangelo, and grapefruit planted next to each other. If they were to cross pollinate would it change the flavour of the fruit?
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D1
Citrus Springs, Fl
30th January 2008 8:47am
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Correy says...
Hi Don,

This is a very interesting question and one that I had to ask a few people to understand.

Let me summarise your question.
Can the pollen of one type of citrus eg a grapefruit pollinate another type of citrus eg an orange and effect the flavour of the fruit.

The answer is No, Unless you eat the seed.

Let me explain.

When the bee takes the pollen of a grapefruit and pollinates an orange what happens is that the orange flower acting as a female in this case pollinates and this newly formed seed has the genetic make up of the grapefruit and the orange.

Now as this orange forms the flesh that forms around the seed is totally maternal or only from the orange tree. Similar to how in humans the water surrounding the baby in the womb is a product only of the mother.

So when the fruit is fully formed the orange flesh will always have the same flavour as the tree it is from. However the seed has half the genetic make up of the orange and half the genetic make up of the grapefruit which has developed into it's own totally unique new seed. Very similar to how half the chromosomes of the man and women form a totally unique baby with some characteristic's from both parents.


This is why you can't plant an orange seed and expect it to grow into an orange tree exactly like it's parent tree. It could be as in our case a mixture between a grapefruit and an orange.

Which bring us to another question what about Nuts where you are actually eating the seed? Is it possible that your scenario could effect the taste of a nut?

I think that the answer to this question is Yes in a few scenarios.
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Correy
Woolloongabba, QLD
1st February 2008 7:34am
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naveed says...
yes
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3rd March 2009 2:19am
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Julie says...
I have Valencia orange, grapefruit and Navel orange not far from one another, plus an ex-grapefruit (now bush lemon stock). They taste the same from year to year, and have never affected each other.
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Juie 1
Roleystone
6th March 2009 6:21pm
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Tom R says...
The explanation sounds logical, but does not match my experiece. I have a lemon tree planted next to an orange tree and every year the lemons are great but the oranges taste much more like lemons than oranges, so much so that they are not edible.
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Tom R
Roseville, CA
6th February 2010 6:24am
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Wayne says...
Hello Tom, this might be of interest to you

"How do I sweeten my oranges and mandarins. They usually are slightly sour and acid to eat.
Comments
Mix 60gms of Magnesium sulphate [Epsom salts] 30 mls wetting agent to 4.5L water spray foliage and fruit twice weekly for three weeks. Also apply Magnesium sulphate [Epsom salts] to the soil under the canopy one clenched handful per sq metre." --- I think one handfull is a bit much so perhaps 1/2 to try first.

or

"Sour fruit - Sprinkle about six handfuls of sulphate of potash around the tree and then water in with two teaspoons of Epsom salts mixed into 10 litres of water"
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Wayne1
Mackay QLD
6th February 2010 8:45am
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Original Post was last edited: 6th February 2010 8:50am
kiarasmommy says...
my gram had a lemon tree next to a grape fruit tree this year only 1 lemon grew and it is huge one side smells like a lemon rine and the other side grape fruit. the pic above is the lemon not quiet ripe yet. next to a home grown florida orange
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kiarasmommy
ma
21st January 2011 8:25am
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Vita N. says...
I just picked what looked to be exactly like an orange from my grapefruit tree (there is an orange tree next to it). It looked like an orange both inside and out and tasted a bit like one as well (it had a bit of weather damage so was not completely edible).
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Vita N1
Phoenix
21st April 2011 12:20pm
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MaryT says...
I think they do cross but perhaps not as readily as say, chilies (these needs to be caged to prevent crossing) and even if the flavour of the crossed fruit resembles the host tree, as Correy suggests, the appearance of the fruit would certainly look odd compared to the other fruit on that tree. This I see from experience with my two different cumquats. When they are in flower at the same time, some fruit on the Nagami becomes round instead of oval. Mind you I have no proof that that is the result of crossing. I just celebrate the differences :)
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MaryT
Sydney
21st April 2011 2:12pm
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IanH says...
If I have an orange tree that appears to be cross pollinated and all the fruit tastes like lemons, can I use the fruit like Lemons?

With my lemon tree I normally cure the lemons to make chutney, do you think I could do the same with the oranges? At least this way I'd be able to make use of the fruit.
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IanH
Sydney
18th July 2011 10:07am
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MaryT says...
You can use the fruit however you like as long as they display the qualities you are looking for. I made a mixed citrus marmalade from Smooth Seville, Eureka lemons, Australian cumquats and nagami cumquats this year and it is the best I've ever had. Chemistry!

The sourness of your oranges may not be due to crossing though. Some people suggests giving it Epsom salts to 'sweeten' the fruit on another link.
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MaryT
Sydney
18th July 2011 10:15am
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jakfruit etiquette says...
In Kaki Persimmons, the presence of seeds formed after polination does affect fruit ripening and astringency, ie some normally seedless, non astringent Kaki cultivars will develop not so high quality fruit if pollinated and develop seed( enzymes from the seed now influence fruit ripening)
I've not heard of this in Citrus,I don't think growing oranges next to lemons makes them sour, you would have to eliminate many other factors(season, rootstock, time of picking, rootstock suckers that fruit)before pollination could be considered
But, if your Citrus are excessively seedy due to pollination, the extra pectin may affect your marmalade batch/??
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oz
19th July 2011 7:41am
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Speedy says...
Apart from very few exceptions, the fruit are not affected in any way.
The only way that pollen from another tree will have any bearing on taste of fruit is in the progeny, ie. fruit from trees grown from seeds of cross pollinated fruits.
As Jackfruit etiquette said, persimmons are an exception to the rule....their colour is also changed by the presence of seeds.

I had heard many years ago that Date (Phoenix dactylifera) fruit quality can be determined by pollen quality and thus superior male trees have been selected over generations in Middle East and Nth Africa.

I dont know whether this is true or not, though it could be just the quantity of pollen
and duration of pollen shedding that are the traits that are selected for....
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Speedy
Nthn Vic.
19th July 2011 9:06am
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Fred says...
I have had the same lime tree for 20 years. Last year I obtained a tangerine and mandarin orange. This year the limes are larger and taste like oranges. Can anyone explain this to me.
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Texas
2nd November 2011 9:26am
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David says...
I have just eaten an orange purchased from the supermarket, oranges imported from the USA #3107. The orange tasted like a grapefruit, no question about it. It has to be cross fertilisation - and it must be rare since I have never had this happen before.
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David36
New Zealand
17th January 2012 7:47pm
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Mike says...
Like Correy said the pollen can't influence the taste of the materal fruit only subsequent generations.Citrus is like a superspecies where they can all cross freely and oranges and lemons have very tangled parentages.They are mostly mutants with a wide range of genes.Phenotypic plasticity of oranges and lemons means their characteristics/genetic expression changes with their environment and even between seasons.Flesh colour,sourness,skin and size can be dramatically effected by the weather.Sorry about that tangled explanation for what could be going on.
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Cairns
17th January 2012 11:56pm
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MaryT says...
I get you, Mike. The odd fruit may be a 'throw back'? That's why it's worth saving the seeds of the 'odd' fruit (if it display desirable qualities) and see if they fruit the same way?
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MaryT
Sydney
18th January 2012 7:11am
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denise says...
The flavor of some fruit can sometimes be affected by the rootstock and it may vary. Anyone growing say orange seeds from a store bought fruit probably wont get a hybrid as they will be from a large 'single species 'planting. It is best to take seed from a close planting of two or more different kinds of citrus to get some nice hybrids. Some cultivars of citrus-especially some orange or lemon are polyembronic, which means that the seed is a jigsaw puzzle of several seed pieces of which typically only one will be a new pollenated seed from pollenation and all the rest will be replicas of the parent and are guarateed to be as good as a grafted tree the same as the tree it came from. I hope I have described it well.
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18th January 2012 9:27am
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Mike says...
They might be polyembryonic but if they are mutation derived like navel and have outcrossed it is a longshot that they will be true to type.Stable seedling lines are a different story.
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Cairns
18th January 2012 5:47pm
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rbrinlee says...
I have a grapefruit, orange, lemon and lime trees planted within 15 ft of each other and all are 5 years old. I have yet to harvest anything that does not taste like a lemon. The only characteristic that is normal is the shape of fruit. Otherwise the fruit is yellow and tastes like lemons.
I have made sure the fruit not from below the graft by removing suckers.

Have to believe it's from pollination, flowering is at the same time? Any ideas, I am ready to pull out the lemon tree.
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rbrinlee
Clovis, Ca
10th June 2012 7:32am
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trikus says...
Seems mind over matter is influencing our American friends taste buds ;-(
And nothing we say will change their minds . Both Corey and Speedy have given perfectly clear explanations .
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trikus
Tully
10th June 2012 9:58am
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Mike says...
It seems impossible for the pollen to influence the flavour of the maternally derived edible fruit portion.I am told by a seasoned campaigner that if annonas are successfully x pollinated with pond apple the seeds are infertile and the flesh is spongy and unpalatable.I am thus wavering and only 99% sure now that it is not the case with citrus ever.
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Cairns
10th June 2012 10:18am
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MaryT says...
I have oranges, lemons, cumquats, limes, lemonade, tangello, grapefruit, citron and mandarins all jammed up against one another in pots so it would be interesting to see what happens.

Since x pollination should not affect the fruit of the parent tree and any new characteristics should only show up in subsequent seedlings, I cannot work out why my nagami cumquat which were olive shaped would now be round like calamondins.

So far all the fruit taste sour but make wonderful mixed citrus marmalade.
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MaryT
Sydney
10th June 2012 11:06am
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Original Post was last edited: 10th June 2012 12:31pm
Julie says...
I have oranges and grapefruit very close together (too close!) and mandarins not far away. Never noticed any affect from one to the other.

The oranges taste like oranges, the grapefruit taste like grapefruit, and same for the mandarin.
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Juie 1
Roleystone WA
10th June 2012 8:26pm
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MaryT says...
And that's as it should be, Julie, according to the science but nature has its own ideas at times. I celebrate all its quirkiness.
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MaryT
Sydney
11th June 2012 9:46am
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jakfruitetiquette says...
If you eat an orange first, then a lemon immeadiatly after, the lemon will taste sweeter. If you then eat another orange,it will taste sourer than the first orange!
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jakfruitetiquette
 
11th June 2012 1:05pm
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debby says...
I have a Lemmon tree & an orange tree. They are in pots are taller then me and flower beautifully. The fruit never gets larger then pea size then fall off. I've tried everything to keep them on but am always disappointed. I live in Seattle. Weather doesn't get too cold there but I put them in garage in winter if we have a frost.
They are in full bloom now. How do I keep fruit on till it matures?
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debby
 
18th June 2013 5:38pm
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Anonymous says...
Do you have Pond Apple specimens?
If so can you post for a fee?
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87
 
22nd July 2013 3:58pm
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