page created 19th December 2006
a striped bitter orange
I have two small potted plants of old Italian ornamental varieties of Citrus aurantium, the sour or bitter orange. They may actually be the same variety, but I was given budwood of 'Virgatum' and of 'Fasciata'. Some reports say 'Fasciata' has heavily variegated leaves, but that is not the case with me. Virgatum has not yet fruited, but produces a few lightly variegated leaves. Fasciata has, so far, normal leaves, but one very striking, striped orange, a couple of inches across. The ripe fruit is randomly striped between deep-orange and yellow orange, an indication of a botanical 'chimera', where two varieties are intermingled in one plant.
This first fruit is only about 10cms diameter, and, as you can see, the separate peel colours do not seem to continue into the flesh which is a uniform light orange. The juicy flesh tasted very sour, but not really particularly orange or lemon flavoured.
What I was surprised by, were the two completely different types of seeds - one type irregular, wrinkled and typically orange-like; the other smooth and much darker skinned. I shall plant a couple of each and see what emerges!
Unripe first fruit of Fasciata in November 2005
The variegated leaves of C. aurantium 'Virgatum'