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Hysterical pregnancy in lime trees

BUFFALOS STOMP GATORS jlsch at gnv.ifas.ufl.edu
Tue Jan 31 10:19:16 EST 1995

In article <3gjr1r$3pr at usenet.INS.CWRU.Edu>, bh336 at cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Nicholas O. Lindan) writes:
> 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.

Hysteric pregnancy- I can see it now lime trees in south Florida
running around having wild sex at night!  Seriously, Citrus, including
Limes exhibit nucellar embryony and apomixis. Therefore they can
produce fruit without having to be pollinated.

The term pregnancy, to my knowledge is never used is plant science
so I take it you must be an animal person.

> 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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