Stopping to smell the flowers
By Arlene Marturano email@example.com
Flying Dragon does not refer to the Chinese street gang, the video game, or Columbia’s latest low fare airline. Nor is it the newest mow, blow, and go lawn service in town. But if you desire an unusual plant with four season interest as well as a variety of uses in the kitchen and landscape, Poncirus trifoliate ‘Flying Dragon’ does it all.
The deciduous dwarf oriental ornamental bitter orange or Japanese hardy orange tree works nonstop. The sculptural features of the twisted green twigs and threatening thorns that curve backward like talons is most obvious and ominous in its winter leaflessness. The green thorny lacework of branches casts eerie shadows and silhouettes of flying dragons.
Fragrant clusters of showy white five–petaled flowers decorate leafless spring stems. In summer, green fruit emerges among glossy green leaves. Each leaf is made of three oval leaflets. Leaves turn yellow in fall when the round fuzzy golf–ball sized fruits ripen to yellow–gold. Fruit may persist into winter.
The culinary uses of ‘ Flying Dragon’ fruit are tr ipar tite. If fruits are allowed to ripen for several weeks after picking to reduce the acidity, a limeade–like beverage can be made from the juice plus plenty of sugar. The pulp is favored for marmalade. The zest is used to flavor confections and culinary dishes.
The fruit is filled with seeds. Animals disperse seeds, which germinate easily.
Since its introduction to the U.S. from Japan in 1915, ‘Flying Dragon’ has assumed numerous landscape services. As a dwarf specialty ornamental it adapts to bonsai, to outdoor containers, and to being a striking singular specter specimen. For the security minded ‘ Flying Dragon’ makes an excellent impenetrable hedgerow as good as or better than barbed wire or an electric fence. In the past, the tree was planted on range land as a thorny hedge to confine livestock.
The citrus needs a sunny to par tial sunny location in fer tile welldrained acidic soil. Mature height of six feet is achieved at a moderate rate. Considered cold hardy to –20°F, the tree is grown in USDA zones 5–9.
The fascinating fruitbearing ‘ Flying Dragon’ will add four–season flair to your garden. Flying Dragon Nurseries