The wampi, or wampee, (Clausena lansium) is a citrus relative native to southeast Asia and is quite well adapted for most of Florida. This deep green evergreen tree grows to heights of about thirty feet with about the same spread and blooms in the late winter, producing delicious clusters of fruit during the late spring.
Fruits, when they are developing, look somewhat like bunches of longans, being a golden brown in colour and often about the same size as medium-size longans. The fruit, however, is quite different. Fruits, when picked at maturity, have much the interior texture of a grape with a pleasant lemon-lime flavour. One or more large green seeds occupy the centre of the fruit, but there is enough pulp in most varieties to make it worth having this tree in the landscape.
There is at least one variety of wampi that produces seedless fruit, but most purchased in nurseries are types that will have seeds. Wampis grow well on a wide variety of soil types and even in high pH soils retain a good dark colour without too much in the way of nutritional sprays.
Usually wampis are propagated by seed by nursery men, and these produce flowers at about the third year. Selections have been made by some RFC members for bigger size fruit or sweeter fruit, but most purchased through nurseries are quite variable in fruit size and quality.
Fruits can be eaten fresh much as you eat grapes, or they can be used for jellies, jams, drink, pies or other purposes. I have found through personal experience that wampis freeze well, so in the late spring when the crop matures, take some of the excess fruit you can't use at the time and freeze it for use later in the year.
Wampis, for best growth should be in well-drained soils and require fertilizing about three times s year with a good complete fruit tree-type fertilizer containing all micronutrients. Young trees can be fertilized every other month to help speed growth, while mature trees normally get by quite fine on two to three feedings a year.
Wampis are very cold-hardy and rarely are damaged until temperatures get down below 26 degrees F. on mature trees. Wampis can take small amounts of salt spray, too, but avoid planting them in directly exposed area right on the ocean front or on the Intracoastal.
Trees seem to have few pest problems and will very rarely require any type of pesticide applications. The fruit, however, is subject to infestation by fruit flies and other insects like many of our other tropical fruits. Also, excessive rains, sometimes in the late spring, may cause splitting of the maturing fruit close to ripening season.
Trees can be fruited in containers very easily, so if you live in areas where space is limited, you might consider growing wampi as a potted specimen and it will still reward you with adequate quantities of fruit for consumption.
DATE: May 1996
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