First of this year’s fruit sets
Taming the wild beast
First fruit of the season … average diameter 1.5 inches.
Thorns? I would think there would be something more accurate to describe the railroad nails on that tree.
What zones do these things grow in?
One of the hardier subtropicals – it should grow anywhere citrus can grow, I would imagine. (But not in snowy, icy regions.) Certainly it has never shown the slightest damage in my Northern California garden, even during the worst freezes. (However, in my location 26F is a reasonably severe freeze.)
I have heard the taste described as “weird apricot” and, based on the fruit I have eaten, I would say that is about right! They probably would not appeal to all tastes. (Having said that, as far as I can tell this is mostly a wild-form fruit – if anyone bothered to breed it for better fruit quality, there would most likely be a good potential for improvement . There are clonal selections available in Southern California.)
For those in the S.F. Bay Area, there is an abundantly-producing thicket of kei apples on the rare fruit peninsula at Quarry Lakes Park in Fremont. (I have been told that it is fine to sample fruit there so long as the fruit is ripe and abundant.) It is a bit of a walk from the parking lot to the rare fruit collection, but it is worth the trip!
Richard, I feel pretty confident that those are the most tightly-controlled kei apple plants in the history of the world…
LOL. Even razor-wire fencing is more pleasant.
LOLROTF. I want to harvest the fruit without removing skin from my arm!
Thanks for the picture of kei apple，pretty color
Thanks for all of the pics, Richard! I have never seen this fruit before. It is beautiful!
Today’s harvest … the photo is a bit overexposed in the late afternoon light.
Today we made Kei Apple puree and marinade. We started with about a dozen fruits, then quartered them for juicing and seed removal. From that we obtained about 2 cups of extract and pulp. I poured the majority of it into an ice cube tray which will be frozen for later use. That left about 1/2 cup for marinade. To that I blended 1/2 cup of Avocado Oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. The chicken is steeping in it now!
Kei Apple is dioecious. You need male and female plants to produce fruit. No way to tell which yours is until it flowers.
Yes, I understand that… I’ve got several planted, this is the first to pop up. What I am thinking about doing is grafting on a male branch or two onto a female plant. I did the same thing with a carob tree and it worked great.
Any idea in general how long it will take until the first flowers appear?
I’ve seen seedlings produce flowers after the 1st half dozen or so sets of leaves. Generally they flower here from mid-spring to the end of July.
Oh wow, I was expecting an answer in the realm of three or so years! That is fantastic news.
Thanks for your prompt response.
Be sure to train them on stakes, etc., otherwise they grow like a bramble in subtropical environments.
Yes, I saw the kei apples at the fullerton arboretum. They are large bushes with killer thorns. What you have done with yours inspired me to start growing them.
Go for it! It’s currently raining Kei Apples here!
Kei Apple flower buds are tiny. Today we were pruning the beast and took this photo of some female flower buds – about 1/16th of an inch in diameter.