SCIENTIFIC NAME: Clausena lansium
FAMILY: Rutaceae

Clausena lansium (syn. C. wampi), a member of the citrus (Rutaceae) family, is a small tree from southern China, and is quite an attractive tree as an ornamental. The shiny, dark green leaves consist of five to nine leaflets, each leaflet about two inches long. The tiny white flowers come in large bunches about August and are followed by the fruits, which ripen in early December.

The fruits are slightly oval, up to one-inch in diameter, with a thin, leathery, somewhat fuzzy skin, yellow to yellow/brown when ripe. The fruit has a pleasant flavour, though somewhat too acid for some people. Asian people find them very acceptable, and they are grown commercially in China. A research station in Hong Kong is experimenting with several cultivars, in an effort to produce bigger and sweeter fruit. The flesh of the fruit is clear yellowish and very juicy, and contains one to five bright green seeds.

We had a single wampi tree for many years, and the fruit never produced more than one seed each, in fact many fruit were seedless. However, we procured a second tree and planted it near the first. From the time the second tree flowered, all the fruit set at least three or four seeds. Apparently this was due to cross pollination of the flowers. The fruit was probably better for eating with fewer seeds, as in the first place.

Wooly aphids and sooty mould are problems with wampi, and consequently the tree needs to be sprayed with insecticide to produce attractive clean fruit.

Though usually eaten fresh, wampis can be used in curries and preserves.

Brien Bosworth,
RFCA Ingham Branch Newsletter

DATE: September 1994

* * * * * * * * * * * * *