I was having a conversation earlier today, and I’m not sure how the topic came up, but I ended up searching about different kinds of fruit. I was wondering which fruits grow naturally in the wild, and which are hybrids (or basically man made). What I found was interesting.
Starting with citrus fruit, we look at the common types, oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits. Guess what? Not one of them is naturally occurring. They’re all hybrids. Oranges are a hybrid of the pomelo and mandarin. Lemons are a hybrid of bitter orange and citron. Limes are a strange bunch, and consist of many kinds of hybrids. Grapefruits are hybrids of a kind of sweet orange, which is also a hybrid, and pomelo. Natural citrus fruits include the mandarin, pomelo, papeda, and citron. They’ve all been used to create many kinds of hybrids.
Other citrus include, shekwasha (a type of mandarin), many varieties of Japanese mandarins which can be pure or hybrid, kumquats (which are natural), tangerines (which may be a hybrid or a type of mandarin), clementines (which are mandarin hybrids), and yuzu (which are mandarin/papeda hybrids).
Of course, bananas that we see today are hybrids. They are infertile, so they need to be cultivated by humans.
The strawberries that we eat today are hybrids, and actually pretty recent. Wild strawberries look a bit unusual.
Blueberries are native to North America and grow in the wild.
Raspberries are native to North America, Europe, and Asia, and grow in the wild. But some are hybrids of a couple species.
Apples have many varieties, but the original comes from around central Asia.
Grapes originated in Georgia (the country), and wine has been produced just as long as grapes have been cultivated, about 8,000 years.
Peaches and nectarines are the same species, and they originated in China. They’re natural, too.
There’s a huge number of cherry varieties, and they’re actually different species. They grow in the wild.
Of course, there are many other kinds of fruit. But it seems that a lot of them are present in nature. But it seems that citrus fruits and bananas are the ones we don’t normally see the original, natural species. But then, mandarin oranges are pretty popular, especially around Christmas.
And just to add a little controversy to this, hybridization of fruit is a kind of genetic modification. We’ve been modifying the genes of fruits and vegetables for millennia. We just didn’t know it was genetic until the past century.
Know any interesting hybrids or natural fruit?