This post describes a pretty uncommon, but a wonderful and an easy-to-grow fruit. The Che fruit (Cudrania tricuspidata, Maclura tricuspidata) originates from China, but not even every Chinese will know it. However, the various parts of this tree are used for centuries in the traditional Eastern medicine. This paper summarizes the traditional uses, the chemical compounds isolated from this tree and their pharmacological activities.
Majority of people who tasted this fruit, never seen a selection producing the fruits as large as the cultivar Oregon Exotics. This particular accession was introduced by Jerome Black many years ago and was originally distributed through his (now defunct) nursery Oregon Exotics. The fruits are wonderfully sweet berry ripening in November. I started growing this accession about 7-8 years ago, and had my first harvest in 2018. The first time I described these fruits in this post in November of 2020.
My new Che trees in the new orchard turned out to be great producers just after one year in the ground. I have not weighed the harvest of 2023, but my estimate is that we picked close to 20 pounds from two small female trees. These are surrounded by two male trees and I suspect that pollinated fruits hold better and definitely grow larger.
The leaves on the male trees look abnormally rolled in, and this seems to be typical for this male accession.
The male trees grow more vigorously and taller than the female trees. I posted a video on how different the foliage looks like on male vs female trees:
The birds started damaging the fruits in early October, and by October 15 we put the tulle net over the trees to save the harvest. These berries need to be fully ripe before harvesting, and the netting allowed us to harvest the ripe undamaged fruits. Below is the link to a video from mid October with the netting structure.
Here in the Sacramento Valley, the fruit are getting ready in November. This year I harvested most of the fruits on November 17 and November 18, and the very last batch was harvested on November 25. In the picture below are the Che fruits along with the very last figs from November 25.