Hybridization is nothing but cross breeding of two breeds of the same genus or between different species. Hybrid offer more fruit, nutrients and grow to an anormours size. On a recent trip to the grocery or the farmers’ market, you may have noticed piles of curious fruits with strange-sounding names. Pluots and plumcots, tangelos and tayberries. What are these fruits? And where did they come from?
In most cases, they’re the work of agriculturists who have created hybrids of two or more fruits by means of cross-pollination: the transfer of pollen from the flower of one plant to the stigma of another. The methods they employ have, in some cases, been around for hundreds of years. But sometimes, a hybrid is a work of nature — two fruits that cross-pollinated in the wild. You will find out the various kinds of hybrid fruits inside this article.
Zaiger wasn’t the first person to create a plum-apricot hybrid, though. Luther Burbank, a fruit producer and plant nursery owner, managed to cross the two fruits more than a century ago. The problem was that, back then, plant genetics were less advanced than they are today, and Burbank’s plumcots weren’t as hardy as they needed to be to endure the cross-country shipping that fresh produce endures before it reaches our tables and plates. Zaiger owes a debt of gratitude to Luther Burbank, however, for showing him the way.
A cross between a lime and a kumquat, the limequat takes out some of the harsh acidity of the citrus fruit and replaces it with a soft, sweet skin—though some still find the tang too much to take. Just like the tangelo, the limequat was hybridized by Walter Swingle.
The Ugli fruit is a trademarked name for what is—at least in part—a Jamaican tangelo. But Cabel Hall Citrus Company added another citrus fruit into the tangelo mix to make its variant. A Seville orange joins the grapefruit and tangerine hybrid, giving extra tang and flavor.
Tangelos are a cross between tangerines and grapefruits, or pomelos. Created by a USDA biologist named Walter Swingle in 1911, the tangelo is super juicy and incredibly large when put next to an ordinary tangerine.
The British summer season of blackberry and raspberry picking is a popular time, and in 1979 growers found a way to combine both fruits into the tayberry. The berry is difficult to pick industrially, however, so has never been incorporated into commercial farming crops.
Blood oranges already exist, but other “bloody” citrus fruits do not. Eating a plain lime may be too sour for the ordinary person without also having a Synsepalum dulcificum miracle fruit to dull the bitterness. But blood limes are sweeter than ordinary ones, having incorporated the Ellendale Mandarin with a red finger lime.
Anyone tasting a jostaberry would think it a cross between a gooseberry and a blackcurrant—for good reason. Both species are part of the jostaberry cultivar, Ribes x nidigrolaria. Though many people enjoy the jostaberry’s taste, in the 36 years since its development no one has been able to successfully harvest the fruits on a commercial scale.
Grapple fruit is a combination of both grapes and apple. The fruit tastes like grapes and looks like apple. It is a brand name for Fuji or gala apple and it has been specially treated to make the taste of the fruit flesh like a grape. The grapple fruit typically looks large and have a flesh that is sweeter and crisper. It normally tastes like a grape and apple.
Mandarins and papedas met in this grapefruit-looking matrimony localized to East Asia. Yuzu fruits are used in Japanese and Korean cooking, particularly for ponzu sauce, but are less popular in the west.
The fruit with the closest taste and consistency to a rangpur is a lime—and in fact its binomial name (the name assigned to species) is Citrus limonia. In China the rangpur, which is named after the Bangladeshi city in which it was first found, is called a Canton lemon. Though to many western palates and eyes it may be a fringe fruit, in Costa Rica rangpurs are often more popular than lemons and limes.
Plums and apricots both come from the same genus—Prunus—which made crossing the two fruits relatively easy for Floyd Zaiger, a Nebraskan biologist noted for his work in fruit genetics. The pluot now has a number of different varieties, and in the 13 years since it was created it has become relatively popular amongst fruit eaters.
Lemato is a hybrid variety of lemon and tomato. Israeli researchers produced a genetically engineered tomato that tastes with its hint of lemon and rose aromas. Nearly 82 people have tested the experimental fruit against unmodified counterparts. It describes as perfume, rose, geranium and lemon grass. Genetically modified tomatoes, have only a light red color because they have only half as much lycopene as conventional tomatoes. It may have longer shelf life and need less pesticide to grow.
A nectacotum is a hybrid variety of apricot, plum, and nectarine. They are reddish green with light pink flesh. The fruit has sweet flavor mixes well with berries or green salad. Nectacotum fruits are low in fat, fat-free, sodium free, cholesterol free, and high in vitamin C.
Pineberry is a hybrid of Fragaria chiloensis and Fragaria virginiana. The fruit is very fragrant with a pineapple flavor. Pineberry has been marketed to European restaurants, bakeries and wholesale markets.
An Orangelo fruit is round to pear-shaped which is similar to the size of grapefruit. It skin is brilliant yellow and easy to peel. The inner edible part is mostly 9-13 segments, non-bitter, pulpy yellow orange in color, having tender walls with a mild flavor of both orange and grapefruit and hardly acid.
Dekopon is a cross between a Kiyomi tangor and a Ponkan. Kiyomi tangor is a variety from Japan and a cross between a Trovita orange and a Mikan or Satsuma. Dekopon is a seedless and highly sweet citrus fruit developed in Japan in the year 1972. The generic name of Dekopon is shiranuhi or shiranui. The size of Dekopon was very large and protruding bump on the top of the fruit and had sweet taste.