Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
With so many kinds of fruits available during the fall and winter months, it is sometimes hard to choose ones for floral design. However, you wonít go wrong if you choose citrus of various sorts. These tend to be long lasting, and add unusual colors to floral arrangements.
Here is the lowdown on some of the less common kinds of citrus. All of these arenít necessarily available in supermarkets. You might have to visit specialty shops or farmersí markets to find them. Or if you live in a warm climate, you could even grow your own.
Citron is a very unusual kind of citrus. First of all, it is the only deciduous one. All the others are evergreen. This is grown commercially to a limited extent in California and Florida. This unique fruit consists mostly of peel or rind, which helps it to last for a very long period when it is used in floral arrangements.
Tangors are often available in specialty shops. This is really a hybrid of the tangerine and the orange. The most typical tangor is what we call the Temple orange, which isnít really an orange at all. It was introduced from Jamaica at the end of the 1800ís. Grown mostly in Florida, these resemble a rather large mandarin.
The Trifoliate orange is related to the orange, but is actually in a different genus than citrus. Very hardy, this thorny tree is deciduous. It can be grown as far north as Washington, D.C. The fruits tend to be smaller than limes or lemons. But, they are excellent for floral designs. Just be careful when harvesting them to avoid getting stuck by the spines.
The Ugli fruit or Uniq fruit is usually available in stores. Native to Jamaica, this was first found in the wild in 1914. The tree is a natural hybrid of the tangerine and the grapefruit. Very large, the fruits are typically six inches or more across. It basically looks like a grapefruit. However, the skin is thicker and looser.
The shaddock or pomelo is about the largest of the citrus fruits that youíll find. This one can be as large as a basketball. For that reason, it has a limited use in floral design. But, it can be used as the basis of a centerpiece. These were originally native to Asia, and were brought to the Caribbean during the late 1700ís. Some believe this was the ancestor of the grapefruit. This has a very thick rind. It is grown to a limited extent in Florida and California.
The sour orange isnít commonly grown commercially in the U.S. Yet, it is a suitable choice for gardeners living in warmer regions of the country. This is also known as bitter orange or Seville orange. The large fruits have very thick skins, which helps them to last for long periods in floral arrangements.
There are several other specialty oranges that are sometimes available. The Blood orange has a red rind that adds an interesting color to floral designs. This is grown in California.
The Chinese navel is a specialty fruit that is grown mostly in the state of California. The Jaffa orange is grown mostly in the West, including Texas, California, and Arizona.
Calamondin is grown commercially only in Arizona, California, and Florida. The fruits have a smooth, thin rind. Experts disagree as to how this plant should be classified. Some say it belongs with the mandarin orange group, while others regard it as a hybrid of the sour mandarin and the kumquat.
Though kumquats arenít in the same genus as true citrus, it is a relative. Native to Asia, these have colorful golden rinds. Theyíre usually two inches or less in length. These are a favorite among floral designers.