In other developments, I’ve discovered some very interesting things about the Buddha’s Hand citron, Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis, and its proper propagation in Texas. I already knew that to encourage blooming in spring, it had to be protected from excessive light at night, such as from streetlights and back porch lights. A bit of nighttime shade from a new fence, and it promptly started blooming. What I didn’t know was that Dallas isn’t known for its lack of citrus trees just because of our occasional cold winters. While this doesn’t stop kumquats, grapefruit, or lemons, our poor Cthulhufruit needs much higher humidity, and more stable high humidity, in order to keep it from dropping immature fruit.
Yeah, this was all learned by accident, when I came across a brand new fruit, about the size of my thumb, on the poor little recovering tree. A quick search revealed four fruits at varying stages of growth. That’s when I made my other big discovery. Most books and references on citrus treat Buddha’s Hand trees spend maybe a paragraph or two on Cthulhufruit before moving on to more respectable trees, usually with a snippy aside of “Only grown as a novelty” or something similar. A few might mention that the fruit comes in two forms, the “closed hand” and the “open hand”, with the latter generally commercially known as “goblin fingers”. NOWHERE does anybody say ANYTHING about how this isn’t a difference between different cultivars of C. medica var. sarcodactylis, but instead a difference in relative humidity during the early development of the fruit.
Naturally, I was thrilled with the developments, and made tentative plans for the ripened fruits come winter. That’s when the tree said “Oh, HELL no,” and dropped one of the goblin finger fruits.
Was this disappointing? Yes. Was this aggravating? Definitely. It didn’t stop me. A good healthy dose of fresh bat guano to feed the tree, and that dropped budlet became a perfect little LOLPlant:
Now you know why I’m so fond of Buddha’s Hands. The local gardening clubs look at me the way citrus writers look at them.