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Stories articles and news abot Alison and Digby Gotts


The Samoan Experience
Three days in Tafua
EcoTour Samoa
The Samoan Election
Pruning the Mangoes
Climbing Mt SiliSili
Fourth week in Samoa

Samoan Observer Articles:

Why is there no fruit on my mango?
Want more mangoes next year?
Green oranges or orange oranges?
In search of a Samoan Orange
The Hardest Cut
Rambutan - hairy thing from the forest
Rambutan revisited
Abiu - the emporer's golden fruit
Avocado - fruit or vegetable?
Carambola - star of the rainforest
Durian - the extreme tropical fruit
Rollinia - lemon meringue pies growing in the garden
Sex and the single pawpaw
Soursop - a taste sensation
The mulch story
Do it yourself pest control
The joys of soapy water!
The hungry fruit tree
Positive insects



(One of a series of articles about growing fruit trees in Samoa, written by Digby Gotts and published in the 'Samoa Observer' between December 2000 and April 2001)

Over that past few weeks of March there has been a steady increase in the number of locally grown sweet oranges in the Fugalei fruit market. The oranges stay green even when ripe, because it rarely gets cold and dry enough in Samoa for the orange colour to emerge. Ripeness can be judged by gently squeezing the fruit. You should be able to dent the skin and it should spring back to shape. The vibrant sweet flavour is fantastic compared to the insipid and often overripe imported fruit.

There are many different types of oranges, given names to identify them like Kona (from Hawaii), Late Valencia (from Spain), Rarotonga ( from guess where), and so on. Their seeds (if they have any) very rarely grow up to produce good fruit, so to keep the good quality these varieties must be grown from buds cut from the parent. The bud is placed into the growing part of a seedling orange or lemon where it is often able to keep growing. However the budded growth has to be protected for the rest of its life from shoots growing from the rootstock, or they will take over, killing the bud and bringing the plant back to its original type.

These varieties of orange can be grown in Samoa but there are many problems with disease and there is a nightmare with the fruit piercing moth destroying most of the fruit as it ripens. These trees have to be pruned regularly to keep them open and clean and they need lots of fertilizer in spite of the rich soils. So they can be grown, but not necessarily well and there might be a better way.

There is a type of orange tree that grows readily in Samoa and is found particularly in drier areas. The oranges are small, with a thick skin that makes them more resistant to the fruit-piercing moth. There is some logic to selectively growing these fruits as they are more suited to living in Samoa than the better known, (to palagi), varieties that have many fungal problems. The fruit project has some local seedlings growing at Atele Horticulture Centre, but would like to know of other good quality trees around the islands. If any readers know of a particularly good seedling orange tree, the fruit project team would be very interested in collecting some buds from that tree in order to grow more plants identical to the parent.

We could then run a competition to select the best seedling orange in Samoa and give a prize for the best Samoan name to give that orange.


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Last updated November 6, 2014