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Hardy Orange Tree Citrus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon'

Previously known as:

  • Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon'
Description

'Flying Dragon' is one of the most cold-hardy cultivars of orange trees.  This tree's parent plant is native to China and is in the Rutaceae (citrus) family.  This shrub can grow 8 to 15 feet tall, rarely 20 feet, and 16-20 feet wide. This dense shrub has crooked branches covered in large downward curved spines. It blooms in spring with citrus-scented flowers that produce fuzzy fruits that are very sour.

'Flying Dragon' can grow in sun to part shade in average well-drained soils. The fruits will reseed so this plant is often grown in a container to prevent this. It can be used to form an impenetrable hedge also and adds winter interest.

The very sour fruits can't be eaten raw but can be used to make jams and jellies. They are high in vitamin C and antioxidants.

Citrus trifoliata is considered invasive in AL, GA, and SC. Please consider planting native plants.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems. 

VIDEO created by Andy Pulte for “Landscape Plant Identification, Taxonomy and Morphology” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee.

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant flowers#weedy#deciduous shrub#winter interest#hedges#spines#yellow fruits#edible fruits#barrier#container#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant flowers#weedy#deciduous shrub#winter interest#hedges#spines#yellow fruits#edible fruits#barrier#container#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Citrus
    Species:
    trifoliata
    Family:
    Rutaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Asia
    Edibility:
    Very sour but can be cooked to make juice, jams, jellies or marmalade.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 16 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Irregular
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Spines
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Fuzzy golf ball-sized fruits are green maturing to yellow-orange
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    1-2 inch flowers are white with a yellow stigma and anthers. They have 4-7petals, grow singly and appear in April- May
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Shiny green leaves are ovate in shape. They are compound leaves with 3 leaflets that have serrate margins.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Twigs are glabrous the first year then turn striate. Branches are crooked with many large downturned spines
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Hedge
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns