Banquet Piece, Pieter Claez

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Unshiu citrus? Won Shu? Oonshiu? Satsuma?

In February 1986, at the Kato Memorial Garden, Don Dillon,  Four Winds Citrus nurseryman and Fremont city councilman, gave a dedication. His prepared notes said that "James Shinn, a prominent nurseryman, lived here and began a relationship with Japan by importing Japanese plums, persimmons and Unshiu oranges, some of which can still be found behind the Ozumia. He also brought in the beautiful Japanese maple located in the front of the garden. This happened in the period 1860 and 1890."

There are two trees in the garden behind the azumaya (ozumia), of unknown age. Are they Unshiu? or Won Shu as a relative of James Shinn called them? What is an Unshiu orange?

I posted the question to the California Rare Fruit Grower forum and found out that the Unshiu is now known as the Satsuma Mandarin (David Karp, UCR)

Some internet searches brought forth these other interesting resources:
  • Charles Shinn, 1890, (see below) "Of the Mandarin class one of the leading sorts is the Satsuma or Oonshiu. The fruit is about three inches in diameter flattened rind very soft and easily taken off fine texture smooth flesh very sweet and nearly or quite seedless. Ripens about the middle of November and keeps well. The tree naturally grows in a bushy form the favorite plan in Japan being to grow them like a low headed quince so that all the fruit can be gathered from the ground. This variety was first imported years ago on dwarf stocks by my father James Shinn. After eight or ten years experience with dwarf trees in sixteen inch tubs where they blossomed and bore good crops we planted most of them in the open ground and also grafted some in the tops of large..." So at least as early as 1882, the Shinns were growing them?
  • Charles Shinn, again, "The Oonshiu has been decided by Professor Van Deman to be identical with the Satsuma and is grown as such in Florida. Mr Amoore tells me that this variety is cultivated almost exclusively in the province of Kishiu, and is known as Unshiu (pronounced Oonshiu) there and in Satsuma. Trees came to us in California eighteen years ago under the name Unshiu, which thus seems to have prior claims." (not sure what he means "prior claims"! Eighteen years prior would be 1872.)

From E.J. Wickson's book
From PRP, Feb. 16, 1889

From B.M. Delong

Pacific Rural Press, February 12, 1887

Advertisements in Pacific Rural Press, November 26, 1887

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