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Pummelo tree?

Posted by a.shau 8b (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 29, 14 at 14:47

I think what we have in our yard is a pummelo tree, which wonderfully, is bearing fruit. However the last few times I took a fruit off, it looked under developed.

I was wondering how one can tell a fruit is ready/ripened for plucking?

Also, since I live in SF in a transitional area, it might be that it doesn't get warm enough for the fruit to develop properly?

Thanks all!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pummelo tree?

Photos, please :-) Pummelo and pummelo hybrids are usually ripe starting in January, through April. The Cocktail pummelo hybrid a little earlier, around Nov/Dec through April. Most citrus ripen in the winter, except for a few cultivars, such as some late mandarins and the Valencia orange. So, now would not be the time to pick your pummelos, if that's what you have. You shouldn't have any issues with pummelos ripening properly. Grapefruits, yes, but not pummelos.

Patty S.


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RE: Pummelo tree?

I wonder if it could possibly be a root stock? Four Winds Growers use Cuban Shaddock, I think that's a kind of small pummello?
I have one, graft dies years ago and we just left it. It gets small softball sized yellow fruit that looks underdeveloped inside with little juice. And huge wicked thorns.

Like Patty said, pictures would help a lot, of the whole tree and the fruit.


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RE: Pummelo tree?

Here is a photo of tree. It is definitely a pummelo, as I took a fruit down yesterday (it had started to rot on one side) and cut it open. Pic to follow in the next post. The fruit was very tart when I tasted it. I'm thinking that perhaps it's just not warm enough here or else the tree itself is too young?


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RE: Pummelo tree?

a.shau, a Shaddock IS a pummelo (just an older name for the same cultivar). Cuban Shaddock is used extensively by Four Winds Growers in California for their citrus trees. What Barb is telling you, is it is possible that you had some other citrus tree growing, and the cultivar scion has died off, just leaving the Cuban Shaddock rootstock to grow. They will look just like other pummelos, but will remain sour. Has this fruit been ripe on the tree since January? If so, then I suspect Barb may be correct - you just have rootstock growing. Can you see the graft line on the trunk? If not, and if this fruit has been on the tree ripe since January (which sounds like the case, since some of the fruit is already going bad??), you've just got rootstock growing.v As I've already mentioned to you, pummelos do not need heat units to sweeten like grapefruit do.

Patty S.


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RE: Pummelo tree?

Ah - interesting, ok I get it! Will look for the graft line. I don't think I saw one before when I was looking, so perhaps it is indeed the rootstock. Thanks all!


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RE: Pummelo tree?

It is true that pummelos need more heat than most citrus varieties. That means that most pummelos do not do well in California's mediterranean climate. UC Riverside scientists have bred some pummelo hybrids that do better in our Climate. I have written an article about the nine best pummelos for California and I will link to it below.

If you want just the highlights, here they are:
Tahitian Pummelo tastes like the ones in China and Vietnam and will get ripe even in parts of the San Francisco Bay area, but not before Chinese New Year.
Melogold and Cocktail are UC Riverside hybrids that do better in our mediterranean climate; they are great choices and depending upon climate they may be ready by Chinese New Year.

With all of this said, the tree may very well be Cuban Shaddock from Four Winds. It seems to be very common that people plant a citrus tree and do not notice when the rootstock takes over.

Best regards,
Dan Willey

Here is a link that might be useful: California Pummelos


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RE: Pummelo tree?

My sister in law has what she thought was a multi-graft tree, two fruit grafted onto one root stock.

But now after observing it I think it's a rare case where the Eureka lemon, (the desired fruit tree) is co-living with it's rootstock and thriving. Unusual, as you mostly see the rootstock taken over totally from the desired fruit, or the desired fruit variety dies and the rootstock has no choice but to take over.

She, however, has a tree with equal Eureka lemon on one side,(healthy tree in all aspects) and what I think is Cuban shaddock on the other side. She does take very good care of the tree, water and fertilizing, so maybe that's why they are co-existing.

The Cuban shaddock side produces softball sized round yellow fruit with a bumpy rind and a lot of thick white pith under the skin. The flesh is pretty juicy, very seedy, and tastes pretty much like a lemon. Her Eureka lemons are great too, and tons of them.

I've read that Cuban shaddock is thought to be a pumello/lemon hybrid and if so that explains why they taste pretty much like a lemon, but are much larger.

They can be useful, they made some very tasty cocktails at our last party. We made hard lemonade with the Cuban shaddock fruit juice, sugar and vodka and everyone thought they tasted just like a lemon. Well, waste not want not eh?!

True non-crossed pumellos are supposed to be much sweeter than that. And I've heard of a lot of folks in CA who can grow them, though it's mostly been those in Southern CA. It is much better citrus growing weather down there after all.


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RE: Pummelo tree?

I have several pummelos and pummelo hybrids that do very well here on my property, My Tahitian pummelo is sweet, sweet and has a melon taste. Mato Buntan is sweet, but not super exciting. The best pure pummelo by far is my Chandler, which is outstanding - tastes like a nice sweet grapefruit without the bitterness. And is ginormous. I mean the size of a volleyball huge. One of my very favorite pummelo hybrids in the Valentine. It is a cross between a mandarin, a blood orange and a pummelo, and you can taste all 3 of those cultivars in the fruit, just fantastic. Glad your family likes Cuban Shaddock, I'm not so much a fan, but I think there's a citrus cultivar for every single person :-) And yes, we are very, very fortunate to be in the citrus belt. I can grow anything except some of the grapefruits that need high heat units to sweeten up. Leave those for Texas :-)

Patty S.


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