Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Random plant event: Murraya paniculata fruits

This has happened a few times since we've had the plant, but I've never quite been able to figure out how it gets pollinated. I don't remember ever trying to self-pollinate it (which is weird, actually, and unlike me), and most of the time we don't have any insects around which would do it (certainly not during winter). I couldn't find anything definitive on-line as to whether M. paniculata ought to be able to self-pollinate in the first place. I mean, clearly it must -- we only have the one plant -- but it seems like if it's able to self-pollinate then it really ought to be doing it way more often than this.

Ugh. Please kindly ignore the hard-water spots. This suddenly became really extreme and noticeable in the last couple months, and I don't know what to do about it. (Would winter make hard tap water harder, somehow?)

As it is, we see fruits on the plant about once a year, usually in the winter, and generally it's only one fruit per round. This year is special because there are two fruits at once. They look pretty identical in the photos, but there really are two of them.

A reader sent me a M. paniculata fruit quite a while ago (last spring? Summer?). I got one seed out of it, and tried to sprout it, but didn't use vermiculite (I know! What was I thinking?), so it dried out a lot, and may not have even been viable in the first place. I'll definitely try again with these, whenever the time seems right to do it, because nobody sells this here anymore. We couldn't even get it at work, due to the Florida quarantine for citrus greening. So if I want more of them (and I do: oh, my, how I do), I'm going to have to figure out how to propagate them from this plant. Cuttings are said to be possible, but difficult, and the husband discourages me (strongly) from hacking the plant to pieces, so I don't have a lot of opportunities for experimentation. Seeds are my best bet at the moment. Let's hope there are some viable ones in there.


Paul said...

No idea about cold increasing alkaline salts in the water supply, but watering the plants at the soil level is the way to keep spots from getting there in the first place.

Acidifying the water before watering seems like it could help, but I would only use lemon juice. Any other acid seems risky. Rainwater is another option, but that's not too reasonable in the dead of winter. Melted snow? You'd get some extra nitrates (or nitrites?) out of it, too.

mr_subjunctive said...


I have considered trying to get melted snow for watering, but we haven't had much snow, plus there's Sheba poop mixed around in the snow in different places, so it's not seeming practical right now.

Part of the problem here is that there's so much dust in the air, all the time, that if I don't spray the leaves down with water in the shower, I wind up with leaves that are covered in drywall and concrete dust. If I do spray the leaves down with water in the shower, I wind up with leaves covered in hard-water spots. It's not such a big deal with the Murraya, at least not in terms of the health of the plant, but a couple of the plants in the basement have had so much dust fall on the soil, or get rinsed off the leaves, that they're acting strangely. Yellowing leaves, dying tips, that kind of thing. It's possible that the dust isn't the actual problem there, but that's what seems most likely, since nothing else has changed.

The actual solution, of course, would be to stop all the #!&* remodeling, which is now in its twentieth month and nowhere near done. But that would be hard to get past the husband, so.

Pat said...

Your water company may use a different source of water in winter. Particularly if they have a source that is just above the limits for calcium salts when rain is lacking but becomes more dilute when there is a lot of rain.

Pat said...

Citrus can produce asexual seeds (by apomixis). I am not sure if they need to be pollinated and produce sexual seeds to produce a fruit.

Sentient Meat said...

Since you're noticing greater spotting, and there's also a large amount of dust... maybe what you're seeing is not just hardwater spotting, but also deposits from the construction dust which is incompletely washed away, instead dissolved or suspended and the re-deposited in the form of water spots.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if this'd help since I'm from the tropics but I have had success propagating Murraya paniculata through marcotting!=)

southernwood said...

Hi, I love my M.paniculata, too! Just wanted to let you know that I rooted a piece in 2009 just by clipping it and putting it in moist soil ... outside ... unprotected ... in spring. A lot of stuff will root that way, including woody stuff. Didn't seem especially reluctant. Also, Logees usually has this plant, and I think glasshouseworks as well. (Logees probably costs more - surprise!! :-)