Archive for September 2nd, 2011

Green Dragon – Poncirus trifoliate

Unripe Green Dragon fruit & leaves
Unripe Green Dragon fruit & leaves

This thorny tree of Asia is native to China and Korea. It is probably the only hardy orange out there. Here in Zone 7A we can grow this particular orange without worry about winter cold and frost! The unripe fruit is green, and ripening to yellow. They are not very large about 1 ½ inches across, looking like a small orange, except they have a very fine, downy hair covering.


The small orange like fruit are edible, but have a bitter, acrid flavor, so do better cooked down into jellies & jams, rather than eating raw. For a refreshing, high Vitamin C drink pick the fruit and hold for two week, then juice. The fruit peel (made into zest) can be used as a flavoring, much like lemon or orange zest.


Several parts of the tree are used in folk medicine. Somehow the thorns are used in the treatment of toothache. (?) The bark of the stem is used in decoction form for colds, and the fruit is used to treat dyspepsia, constipation and abdominal distension, stuffy sensation in the chest, prolapse of the uterus, rectum and stomach.


Some people have used it to form impenetrable hedges around their yards. This is due to the presence of the thorns which also afford protection of nests for wildlife.