Thursday, March 12, 2009

Poncirus Trifoliata Ahead - Proceed with Caution



The Hardy Orange (Poncirus Trifoliata) is blooming and it is quite a lovely sight in the garden.  Shooting up into the sky about 12 feet, it continues to make me a little uneasy. I mean really, would you want to get into a wrestling match with this guy?



Last week, I cut a huge limb off of this plant and mind you, I took my time and was very careful. I kept having visions of falling into it and impaling myself in its vicious thorns.

Hardy Orange is somewhat of a novelty plant - the pretty white blossoms appear in early March and in the fall you get the beautiful fruit that looks like small oranges. After the leaves fall, the thorny structure makes an interesting focal point in the winter garden. I think it would be a wonderful specimen for a Japanese garden but oddly, I don't think I've ever seen one.

This is a fairly carefree plant with one irritant - seedlings pop up all under it, often in thick clumps. I just take a shovel and scoop them up and I try to pick the oranges off the ground before they rot. Not a plant for everyone (and surely not for a garden where children would be playing) and a plant that must be treated with respect!





22 comments:

  1. Oh Phillip, pretty but dangerous! I was just thinking that would be very bad for when my grands visit and like to run full speed through the hilly paths. Falls happen then, and I fall often too, you have heard of the slippery slope, well it lives here! I can admire the thorny beauty of this, but could not plant it here. Thanks for showing it, and glad you were careful with the pruners! I know that roses can be bad too, and the pyracantha.
    Frances

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  2. That's a very interesting plant. I don't think I've heard of it before. Are the fruits edible?

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  3. I kind of like those thorns. But then again, I'm not the one that has to prune it!

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  4. Is this the same (or similar) to a mock orange? I don't do well with thirny plants...I always manage to injure myslef on them!

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  5. Phillip, That is some nightmare...the thorns do look lethal! Like Frances...those thorns scare me and after being smacked in the face with a thorny branch of pyracanthra I am shy of thorns! Does it have a nice fragrance?

    gail

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  6. There's no questioning the defences of this plant.

    Those are serious thorns.

    Great looking mind, I like this Orange.

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  7. Frances, I would not want it anywhere near where children play.

    Catherine, I've heard that the oranges can be used to make marmalade but they are very bitter.

    Dirt Princess, this is not the same as a mock orange.

    Gail, I would hate to be slapped in the face with this!

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  8. Oh, I've thought long and hard about where one of these could go in my garden, Phillip. But I haven't found a spot yet. (And having children wouldn't stop me. They already watch out for agaves and prickly pear.) It's a very cool-looking plant.

    Your worry about getting impaled while pruning reminded me of last weekend, when I lost my balance while pruning an unruly pyracantha and nearly did a Bre'r Rabbit in the briar patch. It was that close. Whew!

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  9. That is planted ALL OVER our North Carolina Zoo! It's planted along the miles of pathways, here and there in the wooded areas.

    Cameron

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  10. I think a killer orange tree is fine for where a kid might play. Though, I guess it depends on how much you like the kid.

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  11. What a plant! I've never seen one before. I am sure they are not hardy in my neck of the woods (Ohio, zone 5). I think I'm glad! Beautiful, though.

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  12. I can attest to the danger of this plant. I had it for several years. It never did bloom for me but it grew and those thorns were evil. My garden buddy has it now. She's got a much bigger yard and her kids are grown. And all's well. :)

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  13. We haven't seen this side of you ;) What do you call it when not using its proper name......MrD would kill me if I planted that.

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  14. I have a weeping Yaupon holly guarding the boundary of my garden where the boy next door insists upon riding his bicycle through; next to that is a clump of the dreaded Eleagnus! I can't wait to dress that area up with one of your oranges! Really, I love children, just not in my perennial beds!

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  15. Phillip,
    The ederly lady that taught me to garden had one of those in her yard. I never like the sight of those huge thorns. It would be my luck I would fall into it too.

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  16. I admit I love prickly plants (well, except invasive buckthorn, but that's a whole 'nother story!), perhaps because I'm a bit prickly myself! Up here in the frozen tundra, I had never heard of hardy orange, but it seems pretty cool. I'm assuming the fruit itself does not taste good to humans. Does any wildlife eat it? (P.S. I love finding out about the plants in other zones!)

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  17. Poncirus has a certain wicked charm, but we have enough stuff here already that has thorns. So I will just admire photos of it in your garden. :)

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  18. Thanks for the great post. I'm not familiar with this plant and have not seen them on the west coast. But I kind of think the thorns are neat. Certainly great winter interest. With the white flowers in Spring and orange fruit later, I'd consider it in the back part of large bed.
    All the best, BOB

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  19. To Commenter Tim: The previous owner of our house planted 2 of those "dreaded eleagnus" at the side borders of our back yard. IMO they have no redeeming features, and I always wondered why she put them in. Didn't occur to me that it might be to keep neighborhood kids out!

    The hardy orange looks pretty, but my yellow lab would have a field day with the oranges. I would no doubt find them all over the yard. Will avoid that one. :)

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  20. Great photographs! I especially love that second one, but oh my!

    Hey...did you get some good rain? I've been thinking of you the last few days as I watch the weather channel.

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  21. Phillip, I'm glad you came wandering into the Midnight Garden this weekend, since I was able to track your link back and discover your wonderful garden!

    We have some early spring bulbs coming on around here, but shows like you've already got well-underway are dreams for later months.

    Thanks for sharing!

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