RE: NANFA-- Streamside citrus [offtopic]

Hoover, Jan J ERDC-EL-MS (
Mon, 19 Nov 2001 09:13:20 -0600

Last week a group of us were collecting in the Ouachita River (near Hot
Springs, Arkansas) where we saw a profusion of spiney, shrubby trees
bearing large numbers of a golfball-size, lemon-like fruit. None of us had
seen this tree before but it looked a lot like some citrus trees do when
grown from seed. Three of us sampled the fruit (and yes, we should have
known better). It tasted like lemon, but with a bitter aftertaste. A
botanist later identified it as a species of Chinese citrus called "hardy
orange." Hardy orange (Poncirus trifoliata)is used as stock for grafting
commercial varieties of oranges and lemons and as ornamental plants (one
variety with twisted stems is called "the flying dragon"). It is also used
to form impenetrable hedges. The fruit is mildly poisonous (some references
indicate that the seeds and roots are poisonous). The hardy orange is
apparently widely distributed throughout the southeast but this was the
first time any of us recalled seeing it. It may not grow commonly in
riparian zones, but we saw it growing along the river banks a few meters
from the water (and in some cases at water's edge).

Distribution in US shown here:

Photographs and biology here:

Toxicity described here:

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