Citrus gracilis 2019 .... at The Pines, west of Pine Creek, NT, Australia
'The Pines' is an amazing isolated property some 20kms from the nearest surfaced road. It is single-handedly owned, operated and maintained by Tim Whatley, using farm machinery and a saw-mill dating from the 1950's. Power is available from solar panels, and fresh water from a permanent spring is pumped to a storage tank by hydraulic rams.
Although Tim was aware of the existance of wild citrus trees on his property, it was only after I contacted him about visiting that he inspected the trees and found fruit for the first time.
We noted about a dozen of these tall trees - up to about 10 or 12 metres high. Mostly straight and narrow, and quite different in form from the shorter, bent trees at Lakefield station. Unlike others I have seen, here the bark was generally quite smooth and only showed the irregular cracking into squares only at the very bottom of the trunks. Leaves were intermediate between the linear shape of all immature specimens and the much wider elliptical shape of the mature trees at Lakefield Station near Mataranka.
Knobbly fruit about 7cms diameter growing at a height of about 4 metres above ground
Old fruit become dry, very hard and covered in black mould
Trunks about 20cms diameter. These photos show the smooth form of the bark which has not been reported before. One section fell away when touched - damage caused by a species of ant.
Three fruits collected for later inspection.
The left fruit was found on the ground. The middle fruit had been picked a few weeks earlier and was already very hard and leathery. The pale green fruit was fresh from the tree.
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page created 21st September 2019