This one is a real stumper for me. This tree is located within a small park where the NC State Fair is held each year. I noticed it last year, and since then I have been trying to identify it, to no avail. This year, I took pictures, and have a fruit at home that I can open up and photograph if it will help.
The tree is rather small (about 6-7 feet tall) with greenish trunk and branches. The branches themselves are quite unusual -- at each point where it angles off, there is a curved thorn. This gives the tree an unusual, crooked appearance, which is stunning.
The tree has small elliptical leaves which don't quite form a point, are lime green in color and have visible veins. The leaves are in sets of three, with the center leaf being a bit larger than the other two, which flank it at the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock position.
The tree is fruit bearing! Each fruit is an orangish yellow, about the size of a golfball, and inside is a reddish pulp (looks like a citrus) which holds quite a few dark brown/black seeds. The fruit is segmented like a citrus, smells sweet to the point of foul, but I didn't dare taste (you never know!).
Attached are three pictures that show various features of the tree -- the first shows a fruit and branch, the second shows more detail of individual leaves, and the third is blurry but may help someone tell what it is. The files are named Maki, because the tree was mislabeled for a yew tree to it's left. The tree is placed between two of these Maki yews.
THANK YOU! You have solved a mystery that has been "plaguing" me for over a year! I am amazed at your knowledge!
I checked out some web pics of the Flying Dragon and also the Poncirus trifoliata in general, and "my" tree is definitely a cultivar of this species.
The fruit of my sample tree seem smaller than those I have seen on the web, but that could be the result of its care, and not necessarily the cultivar. After all, my sample tree only had about 5 fruit on it, and the pictures online have dozens!
Again, thank you, and I look forward to running into you again on these forums.
Ron I have found this Very thorney tree/bush planted in the mountains of Tennessee planted around some old cabins that in there time,'' were built for the very rich'',which they would retreat to in the very hot part or the summer.Circa 1920's 40's. They were put out as shrub,but since have grown to tree size. They produce a 1 inch thorn and a very sour yellow orange fruit. It seemed there purpose in this setting was to deter intruders and bears,as these mountain cabins were not occupied year round, however fenced in places,Poncirus trifoliata was used to supplement to wire fence.
Hi Christine, I believe the tree bears small fragrant orange type fruit, not eatable. I do not know the name, but the fruit is very fragrant in the fall once it turns more orange/yellow. Some people in the old south use to put it in their dresser drawers for the sweet fragrant and it would dry and retain the fragrance for weeks. The thorns are very sharp and will hurt. My father has several growing on his property. I will try and find the correct name and will get back in touch.
Not a flowering quince. I have had quinces in my years for years in my yard. I was replying to the person Christine that had the orange looking thorny bush. It has green limbs with long thorns and a orange like fruit. They are fragrant in the fall and were used by older southerners to provide a good aroma in their chests and drawers.
Christine 41 your thorny poncirus triloba is one of the 6 foot specimans at Ralston Arboreteum near the NC fairgrounds. This may be the smaill garden you spoke of. Their visitors lobby has thorny dried branches displayed on shelves. The Arboreteum is open year round and the winter garden is neat in snow also.