Cricket Hill Garden
Cudrania, 'Daniecki' male Che Chinese Melonberry
Cudrania tricuspidata 'Daniecki'
Name in Chinese and pin yin: 柘 zhe
Variety description: This under appreciated fruit is a relative of mulberry and fig, and is native to central China. In addition to being grown for its fruit, traditionally Che leaves were used as a secondary food source for silk worms. Male trees produce a profusion pollen bearing berries which drop off after the pollen is shed. This tree should be must be planted with a female selection such as 'Norris' or 'Darrow' if fruit is desired. Pollinated fruit will be larger and produce seed.
We graft our Che onto Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) rootstock so that as the plant matures it will develop less of a bush and more of a standard tree form. Young plants have small thorns.
This selection of male che comes to us from renowned nurseryman Cliff England. He in turn received the original scion material from Ted Daniecki, who found the original tree growing in somewhere in New Jersey. It was selected for propagation because it sets heavy berry pollen.
Site requirements: Full sun location. Che will grow in a range of soil types provided that the roots stay evenly moist throughout the heat of the summer. Deep, well drained loam is ideal.
Size at maturity: 10-25' tall, 25' wide, depending on pruning.
Hardiness: USDA zones 5b-9. There are some reports of Che growing in USDA zone 5. Cooler climates may have insufficient summer heat to fully ripen the fruit.
Pests and Diseases: None observed. Birds will eat the fruit if you are late to harvest and deer may browse both the fruit and foliage. We protect young trees with a circle of wire mesh to keep the deer away.
Plant size: Grafted tree, 2-3 ft. tall with strong central leader.
When we ship: Fall 2023/Spring 2024.
Shipping restrictions: None.