Mandarin Melonberry

Was perusing the Just Fruit and Exotics web site and came across this tree…JFE trees are grafted to osage orange which I thought was pretty interesting…

Site description:

Known by many names Che, Chinese Che, Chinese Mulberry, Cudrang, Mandarin Melon Berry, Silkworm Thorn is a beautiful, small, rounded tree with broad olive- green leaves. The tree hangs heavy with red raspberry-like fruit in the late summer. The fruit has a sweet, cantaloupe melon flavor. Our trees are grafted on Osage Orange to ensure early heavy fruit production without troublesome thorns or root suckers. Che aka Manderine Melonberry were thought at one time to need a pollinator , when pollinated by a male tree the fruit tend to be seedy and hard to eat. Our female trees will bear with out a pollinator and are seedless. The fruit is good in fruit salads or made into home made ice cream. Mandarin Melon Berries are Self Fertile.

Like the fact that they’re seedless and don’t need a pollinator or spraying. It’s also described as tough as nails…may have to give one of these a try.

See this thread. Its all about Che. Many people seem to like while others seem to hate. I’ve never tasted it.

thanks for the link…I didn’t see that…

I love the trees. They are tough and pretty. But the fruit is disgusting.

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Thannks @castanea, not exactly what I’d call a ringing endorsement. I’m looking for fruiting trees that my family will want to eat, so I guess I’ll pass on this one…

I’ve been growing che since 1992. I tried 5 or 6 different sources for the trees. They all seemed to produce the same fruit. I have discussed che with at least 50 people who have eaten the fruit since 1992. Only 2 or 3 claim that they will occasionally eat the fruit and I suspect they’re just joking with me. Since the mid-1980s I have eaten every different fruit I could find. Che is at the bottom of that list.

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Do you feel like they have any potential in other applications other than fresh eating? I am thinking on the lines of jelly, wine or dehydrated.

I think they’re great ornamental trees as long as you’re not growing them on their own roots. I have also heard that the leaves have some medicinal value but I don’t know details. I can’t imagine anyone eating them commercially no matter what you did to the fruit. In addition to the taste problem they have a texture problem and an issue with tough tasteless segments that divide the fruit.

We have two of the purchased from Edible Landscaping, so they have the Osage Orange rootstock. We find the flavor to be quite delicious when we wait until they are actually ripe. We follow the ripeness suggestions from California Rare Fruit Growers that “It is important that the fruits be thoroughly ripe to be at their best. A darker shade of red with some blackening of the skin is a good indication of full ripeness.”

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The biggest problem with them is not the flavor which is marginal but tolerable. I’ve never heard anyone call them delicious though except for nurseries trying to sell the trees. The biggest problem is the construction of the fruit with the odd texture and tough segments, plus an undefined something that stops most people from eating more than one or two of them at a time. When your two trees mature it would be interesting to know how many of the fruits you actually eat. Most people with mature trees eat 0-5 fruit per year. The longer people have the trees, the fewer fruit they eat. Pretty much the opposite of jujubes. It would also be interesting to know whether any critters eat yours. While some people do report that critters will eat che fruit, many more report that critters refuse to eat them. With my tree, no critters will touch the fruit. Birds won’t eat it, nor skunks, possums, squirrels, rats or anything else. It’s part of the reason the Chinese call the fruit “unwholesome”. There’s just something wrong with it.

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