Search the Archives


Found this data on Che tree and fruit, what do others think, and is it worth making the space for in a crowded yard?

Found this data on Che tree and fruit, what do others think, and is it worth making the space for in a crowded yard?

I have read a lot about the fruit, some good and some bad. It says most are insipid in taste, but there are those which are better. Some describe it like watermelon, but only the sweetness of a not quite ripe fig.

Do the plants really sucker like the article below suggests?

One last question which may be self explaining. Saw a pic on TyTy Nursery, the notable one not to deal with. It had a pic, of a Che with fruit which looked to be the size of good sized guavas behind a young guy standing there with his shirt off; seem to see a lot of that in their photos.

Does the fruit get that big, I have not seen any real comment on size.


Che Fruit
The Che’ Fruit-Cudrania tricuspidata (Mandarin Melon Berry)
We include Che’ with our mulberry care guide because they are relatives in the same family. Like mulberries they are easy to grow & no spraying is necessary. They are very ornamental in shape, leaf and fruit. Their cropping habit is splendid. We graft Che’ on Osage Orange (which is another relative) because Che’ on its own roots can sucker. On Osage trees are single trunked. Che’ in China are also called the ‘Silkworm tree’. Like the mulberry Che’s leaves are the primary food for silkworm. Che’ trees are rounded small trees probably 25’ high and the same width if left to grow for about 30 years. The Chinese keep them small for the silk industry, so they can be cultivated as a small tree or bush. Placement of the tree should be in the open or along side of small trees like Filberts or Apples. Planting in general is easy. There’s no fuss with soil types, they’ll thrive from Virginia south into middle Florida. To ripen the fruit, hot summers are best. In zone 6 (Front Royal, VA) they ripen in late September or October. We have noticed fruit on the male too. More about that will be passed on as we learn more. It seems the male only sets sparsely if at all. For the 1st few years keep weeds and grass away from the plant and water when necessary.

The following thread was started by DavidLJ48, Waterford CA, zone9 on March 19, 2005 at 10:45 am PST

Che Fruit


I suggest that you get in contact with Martin Berghuis of the Sequoia Chapter of CRFG. He is growing a che tree.

William Visalia Ca

The above followup was added by William on March 20, 2005 at 10:30 am PST.

William, Ok, I know that Ashok is aware somewhat, that is where I got my seedling


The above followup was added by DavidLJ48, Waterford CA, zone9 on March 20, 2005 at 2:30 pm PST.

Doesn't it grow in Cuba?


Sorry . . . couldn't resist

The above followup was added by Dave D. in Vallejo on March 20, 2005 at 5:20 pm PST.

not in Cuba

too tropical for them there-- although points for humor. Personally, I've never been thrilled enough with their flavor to grow them. They're pleasant, but a little insipid. Also, the seeds are a pain, although seedless selections are propagated. Definitely not as tasty as a fig or a good mulberry (both relatives) to me. All the fruit I've seen has been smaller than a pingpong ball-- and most a good bit smaller than that.

The above followup was added by Tom A. on March 20, 2005 at 6:55 pm PST.

Testing to see if my messages are accepted

Testing to see if Axel's anti-spam software will allow me to post here!

The above followup was added by Ashok on March 20, 2005 at 7:34 pm PST.

Che Followup

I wrote a reply to David's query yesterday -- but spam-blocking software sent it into oblivion. As my messages seem to be going through now, I'll try again.


Che fruit are wholly lacking in acidity, so I can understand why some may find them insipid. They do taste quite like watermelon to me, but they're chewy and leathery instead of crisp and breaking. As far as sweetness is concerned, I would say that they get as sweet as *fully* ripe figs, not underipe ones. They do have seeds slightly larger and woodier than blackberry seeds, and I can understand that would put some people off. On the other hand, lots of people throughout the world happily swallow down even larger and more objectionable opuntia seeds.

Tom A. is absolutely right about their size. The fruit I've seen were perhaps in the 1 1/4" diameter range (although size would obviously vary by clone). The guava-sized fruit that you saw on the TyTy site are certainly the product of Photoshop, not nature.

I would also agree with Tom that mulberries and figs are better than che fruit. *But* che fruit ripen and hang on the tree very late in the year, at a time when few garden trees other than citrus will have fruit ready for the picking. The only tree I've sampled fruit from is the one growing in Prusch Park, San Jose, and that plant had loads of ripe fruit hanging on the boughs in mid-December -- a time when you will be harvesting neither figs nor mulberries!

Anyway, given that I pushed that che seedling on you last summer, it should be obvious that I'm a che partisan. However, I wouldn't necessarily urge you to grow a tree 25' by 25' feet in your yard. The text that you've reproduced above indicates that che plants can be kept as small trees or bushes, and my observations square with this. I once saw several che plants trimmed very closely, almost into topiary-like forms. Despite that severe pruning, the plants still had set fruit. Plants pruned so heavily would obviously not bear huge quantities of fruit, but might yield a few bowlsful worth at a time when little else is available in the home orchard.

I have no personal experience on the suckering issue, but all the references indicate that this may be a problem. So that seedling I gave you might not be the best way to go. Che plants grafted on osage orange are readily available through mail-order.

I picked up a grafted che at a recent CRFG chapter plant raffle. It had gone through at least two prior owners who decided that they did not want it. I got it last fall, and just put it into the ground this spring.

It is labelled "Seedless Che". However, I'm not sure whether it really is some sort of special clone. I asked about this on another internet forum, and several knowledgeable NAFEX'ers wrote in and said that it is probably just a female tree. Apparently female (or some female) che plants will set some quantity of seedless fruit in the absence of a male pollinator.

Che plants are considered to be dioecious, with dicrete male and female individuals -- but the genetics of their sexual expression seem to be unclear, even to professional horticulturalists. There is a chapter on che in Lee Reich's new book, and somebody reproduced a paragraph of text from that chapter in the forum-thread I mentioned above -- Reich basically said that more work needs to be done on che pollination issues.

Anyway, we'll see what sort of fruit my plant eventually produces -- if any. If it does turn out to be a "special" and worthwhile cultivar, I'll share scionwood with anyone who is interested.

The above followup was added by Ashok on March 20, 2005 at 8:19 pm PST.

Che experience

I have had Che for more than 10 years. The ones I bought from Oregon Exotics have done well, and have tremendous crops of large fruit. Best description is that they are like a raspberry-rice-krispy treat. Very crunchy because of the seeds. They can seem insipid, because that are all sugar and no acid. Virtually everyone who tries them loves the flavor. The ones I got from OE have not had a suckering issue. I got some others from a nursery in Cookesville, TN which grew to great size, never had any fruit and suckered horrendously. They were removed 3 years ago and are still suckering, The fruit forms on NEW growth, so they can be pruned very heavily to keep size manageable. I typically remove 80-90% of the previous season's growth. They grow like a leggy bush. They require Male and Female plants. I planted both in one hole, though I understand in commercial plantings they are planted one male surrounded my 8 females in a square.

The above followup was added by pitangadiego on March 20, 2005 at 9:48 pm PST.

If one can graft a che to osage orange, can one graft mulberries to Osage, or graft mulberries to Che?


The above followup was added by DavidLJ48, Waterford CA, zone9 on March 21, 2005 at 0:10 am PST.

More Che


The plants you got from Oregon Exotics were probably grafted, and the plants from the Tennessee nursery were probably seedlings. That would explain why the former fruited soon and never suckered, while the latter suckered soon and never fruited.

As I said, it seems to be unclear whether a male plant is absolutely required for fruit-set -- it seems that at least some female clones can set some fruit without a male plant nearby. Check out the NAFEX forums (or the new Lee Reich book) for more information on this.


I can't answer your questions -- but I'm not sure why anybody would *want* to graft mulberries onto osage orange. M. alba is sometimes used as a rootstock for M. nigra; I think most other mulberry plants are seedlings, or are cuttings grown on their own roots.

This is purely speculation on my part, but, given that forms of M. alba are very common in much of the U.S. (almost weeds in some regions, from what I understand) I would guess that if che (Cudrania) was compatible with M. alba, it would commonly be used as a rootstock. Perhaps M. alba would be marginally compatible, but osage orange is more compatible (yielding more robust growth, etc.)?

Anyway, if you want to try any such Frankensteinian experimentation just for the heck of it -- hey, I'm all for it!

The above followup was added by Ashok on March 21, 2005 at 0:40 am PST.

Ashok, have thought of growing Mulberries, but don't want to deal with the aggressive pruning required to control them.

I know what local mulberries do, fruitless and fruiting and wow massive very aggressive huge trees.

I have heard that one tasty dark fruited one is no so aggressive, but not sure how un-aggressive.

I like berries, but not the thorns, even the thorn-less ones are too much fore me.

I had raspberries here, but they never produced very well and were not very flavorful. I had them while in Oregon, before returning back to CA, and they were real tasty. Not sure if it is our valley soil or our heat here.


The above followup was added by DavidLJ48, Waterford CA, zone9 on March 21, 2005 at 10:26 am PST.



Not all mulberries will grow as rampantly and get as large as the male M. alba selections grown as shade trees all through California (and much of the rest of the country).

M. nigra, the black mulberry, in particular tends to be a slower, more restrained grower. I think that M. nigra can easily be maintained at a smaller size (I'm hoping to, anyway!), and it produces the most delicious fruit of any mulberry.

"Pakistan" (an M. alba clone) and "Illinois Everbearing" (a M. alba X M. rubra cross) are, from what I can tell, more vigorous and fast-growing plants than M. nigra -- but still are much less aggressive than the "fruitless" mulberries that you're familiar with.

The above followup was added by Ashok on March 21, 2005 at 11:52 am PST.

seedless che

there's a "seedless che" in the USDA repository at Wolfskill. it's quite small, and planted out with the mulberries. hasn't fruited yet (and I've been watching it) but still too small-- both for scionwood distribution or fruiting. Is this just a female which will set some fruit parthenocarpically? or is it something unique? heck if I know.

I did just learn of an avocado tree in East Palo Alto that produces seedless avocados "the size of a baseball". This report is based on someone who has eaten the fruit, but not seen the tree. I'm definitely getting cuttings of that, although I wonder if it is true. If so, that Guatamalan planting of Green Gold may have some competition!

The above followup was added by Tom A. on March 21, 2005 at 3:25 pm PST.

why graft mulberry to osage orange (bodock)

The ability to graft mulberry and che trees to an osage orange (bodock) would be one of the greatest game management tools ever invented.

I am currently grafting che and mulberry to osage orange (bocock) using primarily the everbearing variety (but also other varieties). This will give me a extremely long fruit production. Bodocks come up wild in Mississippi in marginal land.

I am very interested in anyone that has information or experience in grafting to wild pear root stock. Particularly quinch, mayhaw, hawthorne or medlar. Can anything be grafted to wild persimon such as a lotus?

The above followup was added by charles dahlke on April 24, 2005 at 9:55 am PST.

Osage Orange propagation

I don't mean to change the subject, but do I need to root both male and female Osage Orange to insure that I get good fruit on the female tree? I am an amatuer at this stuff, but am entirely fascinated by this tree. Here in Wisconsin we do not have any of these trees, and I would like to start the ball rolling as to the propagation of them. They are only 150 miles to the south in Illinois. Nice ones I might add. Absolutly dripping with fruit. I understand that before the ice age, Mastadons would eat the fruit and then spread the fruit by dropping the seeds in their dung. They were almost wiped out by the long cold spell, but some survived. Any comments?

The above followup was added by Charles Gilpatrick on September 18, 2005 at 11:43 am PST.

Please note that you are viewing posts from the vintage Cloudforest forum. These are un-moderated posts made by un-registered users. Every effort has been made to clean up the old archives, but we cannot guarantee the contents. If you find an offensive post, please bring it to our attention and we will remove it.

It is not possible to post to the old archives. If you wish to follow up on one of the posts in the archives, please make a reference of the post URL and start a new topic in the Fruits, Rare Fruits and Exotics forum.

Welcome Guest

Please register or login if you would like to post. It is currently Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:19 pm. (All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]).

Getting Around the Cafe


Who is online

In total there are 500 users online :: 7 registered, 0 hidden and 493 guests (based on users active over the past 300 minutes)
Most users ever online was 977 on Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:19 pm

Registered users: Bing [Bot], gardenfreak, Google [Bot], Google Feedfetcher, Magpie [crawler], Majestic-12 [Bot], Yahoo [Bot]