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Hysterical pregnancy in lime trees

Nicholas O. Lindan bh336 at cleveland.Freenet.Edu
Mon Jan 30 18:00:11 EST 1995


I was wondering if anyone here could shed some light on what
appears to me to be a rather peculiar phenomenon - though it
may be that I am simply ignorant and the phenomenon is common.
 
We have a potted lime tree, given as a gift some ten years
ago.  It is kept outdoors during the summer, and moved indoors
to a sunny glassed in porch for the winter -- this being
Cleveland, Ohio and not a place lime trees normally grow.
 
For the first eight years that we have had the tree it has
occasionally burst into sticky and scented bloom, but as
expected, all for naught.
 
For the past two years it has been bearing fruit.  It usually
bears five to twelve limes to term.  Every time it blooms,
about 100 'limelets' are shed soon after the petals fall, but
often some stay on to make a crop.
 
As you can imagine, there are no know lime trees in the area. 
The local bees have no taste for lime nectar.  Often the tree
blooms indoors when the house is tightly shuttered and the
wind is howling outside and the mercury is dropping to -20F.
 
As a result, all the limes are completely seedless.  They are
also untouched by pests and taste delightful as the tree often
benefits from leftovers when the roses are fertilized.
 
My questions are:  1) How common is hysteric pregnancy in lime
trees?  2) Although I know this is mean, is there any method
to encourage more false pregnancies and thereby achieve higher
yields.
 
Making key lime pie from your own limes in the dead of an Ohio
winter is a treat!
 
Thanks in advance for any responses.
 
 
                                  Regards to all,
 
                                  Nick Lindan
-- 



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