The Info List - Citrus Medica

The citron ( Citrus
medica) is a large fragrant citrus fruit with a thick rind. It is one of the original citrus fruits from which all other citrus types developed through natural hybrid speciation or artificial hybridization.[1] Though citron cultivars take on a wide variety of physical forms, they are all closely related genetically. It is used widely in Asian cuisine, and also in traditional medicines, perfume, and for religious rituals and offerings. Hybrids of citrons with other citrus are commercially prominent, notably lemons and many limes.


1 Etymology

1.1 Other languages

2 Origin and distribution

2.1 Antiquity 2.2 Theophrastus 2.3 Pliny the Elder

3 Description and variation

3.1 Fruit 3.2 Plant 3.3 Varieties and hybrids

4 Uses

4.1 Culinary 4.2 Medicinal 4.3 Religious

4.3.1 In Judaism 4.3.2 In Buddhism

4.4 Perfumery

5 See also 6 Gallery 7 Notes 8 References 9 External links

Etymology[edit] The fruit's English name "citron" derives ultimately from Latin, citrus, which is also the origin of the genus name. Other languages[edit] A source of confusion is that citron or similar words in French (and other languages), and English are false friends, as they refer to the lemon. Indeed, into the 16th century, the English name citron included the lemon and perhaps the lime as well.[2][not in citation given] In Italian it is known as a cedro. In Persian languages, it is called Turunj, as against "Naranj" (bitter orange); both names borrowed by Arabic
and introduced into Spain and Portugal after their occupation by the Muslims in AD 711, whence it became the source of the name orange. In Syria
it is called Kabbad;[3] in Japanese it is called Bushukan (maybe referring only to the fingered varieties).[4] In Hebrew, the Citron
is known as an אתרוג ("Etrog" or "Esrog").In Gujarati it is called as Bijora (બીજોરા).[5] [6] Origin and distribution[edit] The citron is an old and original citrus species. There is molecular evidence that most cultivated citrus species arose by hybridization of a small number of ancestral types, including citron, pomelo, mandarin and to a lesser extent, papedas and kumquat. The citron is usually fertilized by self-pollination. This results in them displaying a high degree of genetic homozygosity, and it is the male parent of any citrus hybrid rather than a female one.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13] The citron is thought to have been native to India,[13] in valleys at the foothills of the eastern Himalayas. It is thought that by the time of Theophrastus, the citron was mostly cultivated in the Persian Gulf on its way to the Mediterranean basin, where it was cultivated during the later centuries in different areas as described by Erich Isaac.[14] Many mention the role of Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
and his armies as they attacked Persia and what is today Pakistan, as being responsible for the spread of the citron westward, reaching the European countries such as Greece
and Italy.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22] Antiquity[edit] See also: Etrog
§ Historic cultivation areas Leviticus mentions the "fruit of the tree hadar" as being required for ritual use during the Feast of Tabernacles
Feast of Tabernacles
(Lev. 23:40). According to Rabbinical tradition, the "fruit of the tree hadar" refers to the citron, which the Israelites brought to Israel
from their exile in Egypt, where the Egyptologist
and archaeologist Victor Loret claimed to have identified it depicted on the walls of the botanical garden at the Karnak Temple, which dates back to the time of Thutmosis III, approximately 3,000 years ago.[23] The citron has been cultivated since ancient times, predating the cultivation of other citrus species.[24] Theophrastus[edit] The following description on citron was given by Theophrastus[25]

Illustration of fingered citron with the leaves and thorns that are common to all varieties of citron.

In the east and south there are special plants... i.e. in Media and Persia there are many types of fruit, between them there is a fruit called Median or Persian Apple. The tree has a leaf similar to and almost identical with that of the andrachn ( Arbutus andrachne
Arbutus andrachne
L.), but has thorns like those of the apios (the wild pear, Pyrus amygdaliformis Vill.) or the firethorn (Cotoneaster pyracantha Spach.), except that they are white, smooth, sharp and strong. The fruit is not eaten, but is very fragrant, as is also the leaf of the tree; and the fruit is put among clothes, it keeps them from being moth-eaten. It is also useful when one has drunk deadly poison, for when it is administered in wine; it upsets the stomach and brings up the poison. It is also useful to improve the breath, for if one boils the inner part of the fruit in a dish or squeezes it into the mouth in some other medium, it makes the breath more pleasant. The seed is removed from the fruit and sown in the spring in carefully tilled beds, and it is watered every fourth or fifth day. As soon the plant is strong it is transplanted, also in the spring, to a soft, well watered site, where the soil is not very fine, for it prefers such places. And it bears its fruit at all seasons, for when some have gathered, the flower of the others is on the tree and is ripening others. Of the flowers I have said[26] those that have a sort of distaff [meaning the pistil] projecting from the middle are fertile, while those that do not have this are sterile. It is also sown, like date palms, in pots punctured with holes. This tree, as has been remarked, grows in Media and Persia. Pliny the Elder[edit] Citron
was also described by Pliny the Elder, who called it nata Assyria malus. The following is from his book Natural History:

There is another tree also with the same name of "citrus," and bears a fruit that is held by some persons in particular dislike for its smell and remarkable bitterness; while, on the other hand, there are some who esteem it very highly. This tree is used as an ornament to houses; it requires, however, no further description.[27] The citron tree, called the Assyrian, and by some the Median apple, is an antidote against poisons. The leaf is similar to that of the arbute, except that it has small prickles running across it. As to the fruit, it is never eaten, but it is remarkable for its extremely powerful smell, which is the case, also, with the leaves; indeed, the odour is so strong, that it will penetrate clothes, when they are once impregnated with it, and hence it is very useful in repelling the attacks of noxious insects. The tree bears fruit at all seasons of the year; while some is falling off, other fruit is ripening, and other, again, just bursting into birth. Various nations have attempted to naturalize this tree among them, for the sake of its medical properties, by planting it in pots of clay, with holes drilled in them, for the purpose of introducing the air to the roots; and I would here remark, once for all, that it is as well to remember that the best plan is to pack all slips of trees that have to be carried to any distance, as close together as they can possibly be placed. It has been found, however, that this tree will grow nowhere except in Media or Persia. It is this fruit, the pips of which, as we have already mentioned, the Parthian grandees employ in seasoning their ragouts, as being peculiarly conducive to the sweetening of the breath. We find no other tree very highly commended that is produced in Media.[28] Citrons, either the pulp of them or the pips, are taken in wine as an antidote to poisons. A decoction of citrons, or the juice extracted from them, is used as a gargle to impart sweetness to the breath. The pips of this fruit are recommended for pregnant women to chew when affected with qualmishness. Citrons are good, also, for a weak stomach, but it is not easy to eat them except with vinegar.[29] Description and variation[edit]

A citron or citron-like hybrid of Italian origin (note the thick rind).

Fruit[edit] The citron fruit is usually ovate or oblong, narrowing towards the stylar end. However, the citron's fruit shape is highly variable, due to the large quantity of albedo, which forms independently according to the fruits' position on the tree, twig orientation, and many other factors. The rind is leathery, furrowed, and adherent. The inner portion is thick, white and hard; the outer is uniformly thin and very fragrant. The pulp is usually acidic, but also can be sweet, and even pulpless varieties are found. Most citron varieties contain a large number of monoembryonic seeds. They are white, with dark innercoats and red-purplish chalazal spots for the acidic varieties, and colorless for the sweet ones. Some citron varieties are also distinct, having persistent styles, that do not fall off after fecundation. Those are usually promoted for etrog use. Some citrons have medium-sized oil bubbles at the outer surface, medially distant to each other. Some varieties are ribbed and faintly warted on the outer surface. There is also a fingered citron variety called Buddha's hand. The color varies from green, when unripe, to a yellow-orange when overripe. The citron does not fall off the tree and can reach 8–10 pounds (4–5 kg) if not picked before fully mature.[30][7] However, they should be picked before the winter, as the branches might bend or break to the ground, and may cause numerous fungal diseases for the tree. Despite the wide variety of forms taken on by the fruit, citrons are all closely related genetically, representing a single species.[13].[31] Genetic analysis has shown known cultivars to divide into three clusters, a Mediterranean cluster thought to have originated in India, and two clusters predominantly found in China, one representing the fingered citrons, and another consisting of non-fingered varieties.[31] Plant[edit]

A pure citron, of any kind, has a large portion of albedo, which is important for the production of Succade.

medica is a slow-growing shrub or small tree that reaches a height of about 8 to 15 ft (2 to 5 m). It has irregular straggling branches and stiff twigs and long spines at the leaf axils. The evergreen leaves are green and lemon-scented with slightly serrate edges, ovate-lanceolate or ovate elliptic 2.5 to 7.0 inches long. Petioles are usually wingless or with minor wings. The clustered flowers of the acidic varieties are purplish tinted from outside, but the sweet ones are white-yellowish.


Acidic-pulp varieties

Balady citron Diamante citron Greek citron

Non-acidic varieties

Corsican citron Moroccan citron

Pulpless varieties

Fingered citron Yemenite citron


Florentine citron Kabbad Lumia Ponderosa lemon Rhobs el Arsa

Related articles

taxonomy Etrog Succade Sukkot

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The citron tree is very vigorous with almost no dormancy, blooming several times a year, and is therefore fragile and extremely sensitive to frost.[32] Varieties and hybrids[edit] The acidic varieties include the Florentine and Diamante citron
Diamante citron
from Italy, the Greek citron
Greek citron
and the Balady citron
Balady citron
from Israel.[33] The sweet varieties include the Corsican and Moroccan citrons. Between the pulpless are also some fingered varieties and the Yemenite citron. There are also a number of citron hybrids; for example, ponderosa lemon, the lumia and rhobs el Arsa are known citron hybrids, some are claiming that even the Florentine citron
Florentine citron
is not pure citron, but a citron hybrid. Uses[edit] Culinary[edit] Main article: Succade

A citron halved and depulped, cooked in sugar

While the lemon or orange are peeled to consume their pulpy and juicy segments, the citron's pulp is dry, containing a small quantity of insipid juice, if any. The main content of a citron fruit is the thick white rind, which adheres to the segments and cannot be separated from them easily. The citron gets halved and depulped, then its rind (the thicker the better) is cut in pieces, cooked in sugar syrup, and used as a spoon sweet, in Greek known as "kitro glyko" (κίτρο γλυκό), or it is diced and caramelized with sugar and used as a confection in cakes.

citron torte

In Samoa a refreshing drink called "vai tipolo" is made from squeezed juice. It is also added to a raw fish dish called "oka" and to a variation of palusami or luáu. Citron
is a regularly used item in Asian cuisine. The variety of citron used in Japan, YUZU, is juiced, and the juice is used regularly in dipping sauces, dressings and marinades. The juice is widely available bottled like lemon juice. Grated or shredded yuzu rind is also added to marinades and desserts, and hollowed out YUZU can be seen as decorative containers in higher end restaurants. In Korea, a popular tea, YUJI-CHA, is made by mixing citron meat and julienned peels with sugar and honey. This tea is consumed both hot and iced, and is often taken for sore throats and colds in winter. Today the citron is used for the fragrance or zest of its flavedo, but the most important part is still the inner rind (known as pith or albedo), which is a fairly important article in international trade and is widely employed in the food industry as succade,[15][34][35] as it is known when it is candied in sugar. The dozens of varieties of citron are collectively known as Lebu in Bangladesh, West Bengal, where it is the primary citrus fruit. In Iran, the citron's thick white rind is used to make jam; in Pakistan
the fruit is used to make jam but is also pickled; in South Indian cuisine, some varieties of citron (collectively referred to as "Narthangai" in Tamil) are widely used in pickles and preserves. In Kutch, Gujarat, it is used to make pickle, wherein entire slices of fruits are salted, dried and mixed with jaggery and spices to make sweet spicy pickle.[36] In the United States, citron is an important ingredient in holiday fruit cakes. Medicinal[edit] From ancient through medieval times, the citron was used mainly for medical purposes: to combat seasickness, pulmonary troubles, intestinal ailments, scurvy and other disorders. The essential oil of the flavedo (the outermost, pigmented layer of rind) was also regarded as an antibiotic. Citron
juice with wine was considered an effective antidote to poison, as Theophrastus
reported. In the Ayurvedic system of medicine, the juice is still used for treating conditions like nausea, vomiting, and excessive thirst. The juice of the citron has a high Vitamin C
Vitamin C
content and used medicinally as an anthelmintic, appetizer, tonic, in cough, rheumatism, vomiting, flatulence, haemorrhoids, skin diseases and weak eyesight.[37] There is an increasing market for the citron for the soluble fiber (pectin) found in its thick albedo.[38] Religious[edit] In Judaism[edit] Main article: Etrog The citron is used by Jews (the word for it in Hebrew is etrog) for a religious ritual during the Jewish harvest holiday of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles; therefore, it is considered to be a Jewish symbol which is found on various Hebrew antiques and archaeological findings.[39] Citrons used for ritual purposes cannot be grown by grafting branches.

The Fingered Citron

In Buddhism[edit] Main article: Buddha's hand A variety of citron native to China
has sections that separate into finger-like parts and is used as an offering in Buddhist
temples. Perfumery[edit] For many centuries, citron's fragrant essential oil has been used in perfumery, the same oil that was used medicinally for its antibiotic properties. Its major constituent is limonene.[40] See also[edit]

Archaeological finds of citrons in Israel Gallery of Etrog
citrons Gallery of Fingered citrons


In a German market, for culinary use

In fruit market of Italy

citrons and leaf

or hybrid in Sicily

A wild citron in India


Unknown citron type in pot

A Corsican citron

Bijora - Citron
fruit for sale at Bhujpur, Kutch, Gujarat, India


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Reference to the Genus Citrus". Botanical Gazette. 104 (4): 602–611. doi:10.1086/335173. JSTOR 2472147.  ^ R. Carvalho; W. S. Soares Filho; A. C. Brasileiro-Vidal; M. Guerra (March 2005). "The relationships among lemons, limes and citron: a chromosomal comparison". Cytogenetic and Genome Research. 109 (1-3): 276–282. doi:10.1159/000082410.  ^ a b c Wu, Guohong Albert; Terol, Javier; Ibanez, Victoria; López-García, Antonio; Pérez-Román, Estela; Borredá, Carles; Domingo, Concha; Tadeo, Francisco R; Carbonell-Caballero, Jose; Alonso, Roberto; Curk, Franck; Du, Dongliang; Ollitrault, Patrick; Roose, Mikeal L. Roose; Dopazo, Joaquin; Gmitter Jr, Frederick G.; Rokhsar, Daniel; Talon, Manuel (2018). "Genomics of the origin and evolution of Citrus". Nature. 554: 311–316. doi:10.1038/nature25447.  ^ Erich Isaac (January 1959). "The Citron
in the Mediterranean: a study in religious influences". Economic Geography. 35 (1): 71–78. doi:10.2307/142080. JSTOR 142080.  ^ a b "Citron: Citrus
medica Linn". Purdue University.  ^ Frederick J. Simoons (1990). Food in China: a cultural and historical inquiry. CRC Press. p. 200. ISBN 9780849388040.  ^ "ethrog". University of California, Riverside.  ^ Marion Eugene Ensminger; Audrey H. Ensminger (1993). Foods & Nutrition Encyclopedia. volume 1 (2nd ed.). CRC Press. p. 424. ISBN 9780849389818.  ^ Francesco Calabrese (2003). "Origin and history". In Giovanni Dugo; Angelo Di Giacomo. Citrus: The Citrus
Genus. CRC Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780203216613.  ^ Biology of Citrus[dead link] ^ H. Harold Hume (2007). Citrus
Fruits and Their Culture. Read Books. p. 59. ISBN 9781406781564.  ^ Emanuel Bonavia (1888). The Cultivated Oranges and Lemons, Etc. of India
and Ceylon. W. H. Allen. p. 255.  ^ "Scientific Committee, March 28, 1893: The Antiquity of the Citron in Egypt". Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society. 16.  ^ Ramón-Laca, L. (Winter 2003). "The Introduction of Cultivated Citrus
to Europe
via Northern Africa and the Iberian Peninsula". Economic Botany. 57 (4): 502–514. doi:10.1663/0013-0001(2003)057[0502:tiocct]2.0.co;2.  ^ Historia plantarum 4.4.2-3 (exc. Athenaeus Deipnosophistae 3.83.d-f); cf. Vergil Georgics 2.126-135; Pliny Naturalis historia 12.15,16. ^ Historia plantarum 1.13.4. ^ "Chap. 31.—The Citron-Tree". Perseus Digital Library. Tufts University.  excerpting from John Bostock; H.T. Riley,, eds. (1855). The Natural History. Pliny the Elder. London: Taylor and Francis.  ^ "Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, Book
XII. The Natural History of Trees, Chap. 7. (3.)—How the Citron
Is Planted". Tufts University.  ^ "Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, Book
XXIII. The Remedies Derived from the Cultivated Trees., Chap. 56.—Citrons: Five Observations upon Them". Tufts University.  ^ Un curieux Cedrat marocain, Chapot 1950. ^ a b Ramadugu, Chandrika; Keremane, Manjunath L; Hu, Xulan; Karp, David; Frederici, Claire T; Kahn, Tracy; Roose, Mikeal L; Lee, Richard F. (2015). "Genetic analysis of citron ( Citrus
medica L.) using simple sequence repeats and single nucleotide polymorphisms". Scientia Horticulturae. 195: 124–137.  ^ "Website Disabled". University of California, Riverside. Archived from the original on 2008-03-08.  ^ Meena, Ajay Kumar; Kandale, Ajit; Rao, M. M.; Panda, P.; Reddy, Govind (2011). "A review on citron-pharmacognosy, phytochemistry and medicinal uses" (PDF). The Journal of Pharmacy. 2 (1): 14–20.  ^ The Citron
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Ratchada Tangwongchai; K. Lerkchaiyaphum; Kasem Nantachai; T. Rojanakorn (November 2006). " Pectin
extraction from Citron
peel ( Citrus
medica Linn.) and its use in food system". Songklanakarin Journal of Science and Technology. 28 (6): 6 – via ResearchGate.  Frederick Hardy (1924). "The Extraction of Pectin
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^ See Etrog ^ Inouye, S.; Takizawa, T.; Yamaguchi, H. (2001). "Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their major constituents against respiratory tract pathogens by gaseous contact". Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 47 (5): 565–573. doi:10.1093/jac/47.5.565. PMID 11328766. 


H. Harold Hume, Citrus
Fruits and Their Culture Richard S. Barnett, All Kinds of Scented Wood Frederick J. Simoons, Food in China: A Cultural and Historical Inquiry Pinhas Spiegel-Roy, Eliezer E. Goldschmidt, Biology of Citrus Hugh Chisholm, ed., The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature ... Citrus: The Genus Citrus
By Giovanni Dugo, Angelo Di Giacomo Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information G. S. Nijjar, "Fruit Breeding in India" Proceedings, Google Book
Search A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Culture International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: A-D By Geoffrey William Bromiley Allen Susser, The Great Citrus
Book: A Guide With Recipes Citrus: The Genus Citrus
By Giovanni Dugo, Angelo Di Giacomo - "Peel confection and candying" Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge Alphonse de Candolle, Origin of Cultivated Plants Evyatar Marienberg and David Carpenter, The Stealing of the 'Apple of Eve' from the 13th century Synagogue of Winchester[permanent dead link], Henri III Fine Rolls Project, Fine of the Month: December 2011

External links[edit]

has information related to Citrus

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Citrus
medica and Citrons ( Citrus

USDA Plants Profile – Citrus
medica "Citron" Purdue University University of California- " Citrus
Diversity" Stuart-exchange_org: Citrus
medica used as a medicinal plant. UCLA: "Give Me A Squeeze" Wildflowers of Israel
– Citron Buddha's Hand
Buddha's Hand
citron by David Karp (pomologist)

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True species

Australian and Papuan wild limes Byeonggyul Citron Clymenia Indian wild orange Ichang papeda Kumquat Mandarin Mangshanyegan Micrantha Pomelo

Major hybrids

Grapefruit Lemon Lime Orange

True and hybrid cultivars

Alemow Amanatsu Bergamot orange Bizzaria Bitter orange Blood lime Blood orange Buddha's hand Cam sành Cara cara navel Cherry orange Citrange Citrumelo Clementine Daidai Dekopon Fairchild tangerine Florentine citron Hassaku orange Hebesu Hyuganatsu Imperial lemon Iyokan Jabara Jaffa orange Kabbad Kabosu Kaffir lime Kakadu lime Kalpi Key lime Khasi papeda Kinnow Kishumikan Kiyomi Komikan Laraha Lumia Mandelo Mandora Melanesian papeda Melogold Meyer lemon Murcott Myrtle-leaved orange tree Ōgonkan Orangelo/Chironja Oroblanco Palestinian sweet lime Persian lime Pixie mandarin Ponderosa lemon Ponkan Rangpur Reikou Rhobs el Arsa Rough lemon Sanboken Satsuma mandarin Setoka Shangjuan Shonan Gold Sudachi Sweet lemon Sweet limetta Tangelo Tangerine Tangor Ugli fruit Valencia orange Variegated pink lemon Winged lime Xã Đoài orange Yuukou mandarin Yuzu


Balady citron Corsican citron Diamante citron Fingered citron Greek citron Moroccan citron Yemenite citron

Mandarin oranges

Cleopatra mandarin Shīkwāsā Nanfengmiju


halimii or Mountain "citron" Ichang papeda


Banpeiyu Dangyuja

Australian and Papuan citrus (Microcitrus, Eromocitrus, Clymenia and Oxanthera subgenera)

Australian outback lime Australian round lime Brown River finger lime Desert lime Mount white lime (Microcitrus) New Guinea wild lime Russell River lime Clymenia Oxanthera

hybrids (×Citrofortunella)

Calamondin Citrangequat Limequat Orangequat Procimequat Sunquat Yuzuquat

Related genus

Poncirus/Trifoliate orange


Chūhai Curaçao Grapefruit
juice Lemonade Limeade Orange juice Yuja-hwachae Yuja tea


Calcium citrate Citric acid Lemonene Limonene Neroli Orange flower water Orange oil Orangeat Succade Zest


Black spot CTV/Tristeza Exocortis Greening Mal secco Phytophthora


Related topics

The Citrus
Industry Citrus
production Citrus
rootstock Citrus
taxonomy Cold-hardy citrus Hesperidium Japanese citrus List of citrus fruits Mother Orange Tree Orangery University of California Citrus
Experiment Station University of California, Riverside Citrus
Variety Collection

Book Category Production Commons

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q150064 APDB: 90374 EoL: 582203 EPPO: CIDME FoC: 200012432 GBIF: 3190157 GRIN: 10745 iNaturalist: 123356 IPNI: 59603-2 ITIS: 28886 NCBI: 171251 Plant
List: kew-2724208 PLANTS: CIME3 Tropic