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Pleiospermium alatum

Ceylon orangeaster

CRC 3117

PI 231073



Photos by David Karp and Toni Siebert, CVC. Photo rights.


Source: Received as seed from Ted Froelich, UCLA, 1957.


Parentage/origins: Parents unknown.


Rootstocks of accession: Own roots.


Season of ripeness at Riverside: August to December

Season of flowering at Riverside: April to June


Notes and observations:

Received as seedling trees. "Seed was sent to us from H. Mauwing Kharzati, Mission Compound, Shilling, Assam, India."---T. Froelich.

EMN, 4/7/1988: Dr. Bitters implied that he knew which species of Pleiospermium this is, but wouldn't tell me; said I should go to South Coast & key it out. Trouble is: I did this and my key wouldn't fit. This accession doesn't match any of the 5 Pleiospermium species described in TCI, Vol. I, pp 290-294. Tim Williams opinion is that this is Pleiospermium but of a species not listed in TCI. And this is good enough for me until a true blue citrus taxonomist wanders through here some day.

Description from The Citrus Industry Vol. 1 (1967):

" Small trees with glabrous branchlets, sometimes with a single stout, straight spine up to 25 mm long at the side of the bud in the axil of the leaf, sometimes spineless, especially the fruiting branches; leaves 3-foliate [sic] (rarely 2- or 1-foliolate); lateral leaflets much smaller, all leaflets rather thick, glossy above, finely netted-veined beneath, lateral veins slender, not very conspicuous, making a very wide angle with the midrib, margins entire, the apex obtuse or subacute, rarely acuminate, bluntly rounded at the very tip, often emarginate, the leaflet blade abruptly narrowed to a cuneate base; petiole variable, 25-38 mm long, narrowly winged, articulated with the blade; inflorescences in clusters in the axils of the leaves or in terminal much-branched hoary panicles; flowers small, about 12-15 mm diam., 4-5-merous, pedicels rather short, finely pubescent; flower buds cylindric, rounded at the tip, more or less pubescent; calyx small, 4-5-lobed, sepals deltoid, finely pubescent; petals oblong or ovate, obtuse, entire, sparingly covered with fine pubescence without; stamens free, 8 or 10 (twice as many as the petals), filaments free, anthers large, erect, linear-oblong; pistil subsessile, seated on a low cupulate disk which clasps the base of the ovary for 0.5-0.8 mm; ovary obovoid, glabrous, 3.5-4.2 X 1.6-1.8 mm, 4-5 locular, with 2 ovules in each locule; style slender, gradually merging with the tip of the ovary and capped by a slightly thicker, subglobose stigma; fruits globose, 2.3-2.5 cm diam., like small oranges in appearance, the segments each containing 1 or 2 seeds surrounded with an aromatic, mucilaginous fluid, peel rough, dotted with numerous oil glands, seeds ovate, somewhat flattened, with a hard, smooth testa.
      This species occurs rather commonly in the hot dry parts of southern India and Ceylon.   The fruit is said to be very bitter; the wood is hard and heavy, yellowish, even-grained.   The leaves have a strong lemon odor when crushed."


Availability: Not commercially available in California.


USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network page for Pleiospermium alatum


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