It's called Japanese Bitter Orange, Poncirus trifoliata. It's a thorny, sparsely leafed shrub that reaches 10-12' in height. I found it last winter in the "wild" beyond the edge of the backyard. There's another in the gully. In spring, they bloom with a light sweet citrus fragrance. The leaves are insignificant. I imaging these two shrubs have survived for years with no care, no pruning, and no fertilizer. Until the oak tree fell, the one pictured here lived in deep shade receiving only winter/early spring sunlight.
They do produce oranges. They have a very bitter flavor, and leave their scent on your hands much longer than you'd like. The skin is slightly fuzzy, like a peach. The largest one this year is about the size of a ping pong ball.
Inside, there's very little pulp, lots of juice, and a dozen or so seeds.
Since the seeds do not store well once removed from the fruit, I have already sown several in outdoor containers. I plan to use these and pyracantha to create a bird habitat in the gully. The thorns will protect them while they eat berries and sample the fruits from these spiny shrubs.
Planted nearby, and intertwined with the hardy orange, is an elaeagnus. I'm not sure of the variety. Again, grown in heavy shade, I've never seen any fruit and have only found this one specimen in the woods. I suspect it's E. pungens. Some varieties are highly invasive. Given no others are nearby, this is probably not the invasive Russian olive, E. augustifolia. There are several common names, silverberry, Autumn Olive, Winterthorn. This one has small, golden flowers that aren't as highly scented as I've read about. I plan to propagate more of this shrub in the spring using softwood cuttings.
New growth from maturing stems appears as 1" long spikes. These later develop leaves and become new branches. Given ample sunlight, they really put out some amazing growth in just a few weeks.
In the shrub island, the "white" hibiscus is blooming again. I guess I should give this one a name as well. Grown from seed, the flowers are a deep, dark wine color. The picture is lighter than the actual color. This one shall be called the other, other red hibiscus.
More of the wild.
At the edge of my property along the perennial bed, the maple has really taken on some color in the past 24 hours.
Across the street, Beth's back yard is something I aspire to. I'll be raking leaves back here in a few weeks to use as mulch and add to my compost pile.
It's 70 degrees and cloudy. We got rain for all of 3 minutes last night about 1am. Several passing drizzles have dampened the soil this morning. More scattered drizzles expected throughout the day. We need a lot more rain, not this teasing habit Mother Nature has developed.