Citrus medica var sarcodactylis
No, it is not a real hand but a Citrus species from China (Citrus medica var sarcodactylis) which looks very much like a 30cm long, yellow hand with many fingers. When fully developed the fruit is a real crowd stopper as it looks like nothing else.
The fruit has been grown for many hundreds of years in the East but they were released for New Zealanders to grow around 2006 . The plant makes a good tub plant as it is not a large grower and this means that it can be moved around if the weather gets too cold for it as it is a more tropical species. In the ground it must have a free draining soil in full sun and preferably no frost although mine had light frost on it and has suffered no damage.
The flowers, which are white, have a delicious scent as do the ripe fruit and they make a good air freshener when in a room or clothes cupboard. The ripe fruit can be made into marmalade or candied. It seems that in the early 1900’s many tonnes of fruit were exported from China to USA to be candied for the candied peel market. Fruit can be carried on the tree all the year round. The fruit has no seeds or juice so it is not used as a fresh fruit.
The leaves are also very aromatic and can be used in the same way as Kaffir Lime leaves are used in Asian cooking.