This sunshiny tree will infuse your buffet or dessert table with refreshing charm. And, you can invite guests to sample fruit right off the tree. Because kumquats are perishable, the tree may last only five to seven days. You’ll need about 60 kumquats and 90 lemon leaves. Choose leaves and fruit that are a similar shape and size. Starting at the top of a 4″ D x 12″ H Plastifoam cone, layer lemon leaves around the cone. Place the first leaf so that 1/2″ of the leaf top extends over the tip of the cone. Use a dab of low-temperature hot glue at the base of each leaf to attach it to the cone. Note: If leaf becomes discolored from glue, the area will be covered by the next row. Overlap next leaf, aligning the tops of the leaves. Continue around cone for top row. For second and subsequent rows, place leaves so they overlap the previous row, with 1″ of the previous row left exposed. Continue until cone is covered. On the last row, glue excess portion of leaves to the underside of the cone. Create cupped leaves to cradle the kumquats. Cut off one quarter of the bottom of a leaf, cutting straight across. Bring the two corners of the cut end together, overlapping slightly. With a straight pin, pierce leaf at the highest point of the overlap and attach leaf to cone. Attach 12 cupped leaves evenly spaced around the base of the tree.
Place a row of six evenly spaced cupped leaves 1″ above the first row, attaching in the same manner. Continue on remainder of tree, leaving 1″ between each row. The third row of leaves will have five cupped leaves, the fourth and fifth rows will have four cupped leaves each, and the sixth row will have three cupped leaves. Make sure the leaves are staggered from row to row. Insert a toothpick through the center of each cupped leaf and press it halfway into the foam. Center the kumquat stem-side down on the leaf and gently pierce the fruit, securing it to the foam. Be careful not to squeeze the fruit after piercing; it may drip. Place kumquats in every other cupped leaf at the base and in every cupped leaf on the other rows. Note: For balance, make sure to place kumquats on the bottom row so they will not be directly beneath those in the row above. Place a kumquat at the top of the cone. Insert an 8″ dowel rod into the center bottom of the cone, about 3″ to 4″ deep. Secure the dowel to the foam with hot glue. Place the dowel rod into a fruit-filled mason jar. The kumquats in the jar will support the tree.