Citrus limon (L.) Osbeck, is a species of small evergreen
tree in the flowering plant family Rutaceae, native to Asia.
The tree's ellipsoidal yellow fruit is used for culinary and
non-culinary purposes throughout the world, primarily for its juice,
which has both culinary and cleaning uses. The pulp and rind (zest)
are also used in cooking and baking. The juice of the lemon is about
5% to 6% citric acid, with a pH of around 2.2, giving it a sour taste.
The distinctive sour taste of lemon juice makes it a key ingredient in
drinks and foods such as lemonade and lemon meringue pie.
3 Nutritional value and phytochemicals
4 Culinary uses
5 Other uses
5.2 As a cleaning agent
9 Other citrus called 'lemons'
11 See also
13 External links
Citron § Origin and distribution
Lemon external surface and cross-section
The origin of the lemon is unknown, though lemons are thought to have
first grown in
Assam (a region in northeast India), northern
China. A genomic study of the lemon indicated it was a hybrid
between bitter orange (sour orange) and citron.
Europe near southern
Italy no later than the second
century AD, during the time of Ancient Rome. However, they were not
widely cultivated. They were later introduced to
Persia and then to
Egypt around 700 AD. The lemon was first recorded in
literature in a 10th-century
Arabic treatise on farming, and was also
used as an ornamental plant in early Islamic gardens. It was
distributed widely throughout the Arab world and the Mediterranean
region between 1000 and 1150.
The first substantial cultivation of lemons in
Europe began in Genoa
in the middle of the 15th century. The lemon was later introduced to
Americas in 1493 when
Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds to
Hispaniola on his voyages. Spanish conquest throughout the New World
helped spread lemon seeds. It was mainly used as an ornamental plant
and for medicine. In the 19th century, lemons were increasingly
Florida and California.
In 1747, James Lind's experiments on seamen suffering from scurvy
involved adding lemon juice to their diets, though vitamin C was not
The origin of the word "lemon" may be Middle Eastern. The word
draws from the Old French limon, then Italian limone, from the Arabic
laymūn or līmūn, and from the Persian līmūn, a generic term for
citrus fruit, which is a cognate of Sanskrit (nimbū, “lime”).
Detailed taxonomic illustration by Franz Eugen Köhler.
The 'Bonnie Brae' is oblong, smooth, thin-skinned, and seedless,
mostly grown in San Diego County, USA.
The 'Eureka' grows year-round and abundantly. This is the common
supermarket lemon, also known as 'Four Seasons' (Quatre Saisons)
because of its ability to produce fruit and flowers together
throughout the year. This variety is also available as a plant to
domestic customers. There is also a pink-fleshed Eureka lemon,
with a green and yellow variegated outer skin.
The 'Femminello St. Teresa', or 'Sorrento' is native to Italy.
This fruit's zest is high in lemon oils. It is the variety
traditionally used in the making of limoncello.
The 'Yen Ben' is an Australasian cultivar.
Lemon, raw, without peel
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
121 kJ (29 kcal)
Pantothenic acid (B5)
Link to USDA Database entry
μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams
IU = International units
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Nutritional value and phytochemicals
Lemons are a rich source of vitamin C, providing 64% of the Daily
Value in a 100 g serving (table). Other essential nutrients, however,
have insignificant content (table).
Lemons contain numerous phytochemicals, including polyphenols,
terpenes, and tannins.
Lemon juice contains slightly more citric
acid than lime juice (about 47 g/l), nearly twice the citric acid
of grapefruit juice, and about five times the amount of citric acid
found in orange juice.
Lemon juice, rind, and peel are used in a wide variety of foods and
drinks. The whole lemon is used to make marmalade, lemon curd and
Lemon slices and lemon rind are used as a garnish for
food and drinks.
Lemon zest, the grated outer rind of the fruit, is
used to add flavor to baked goods, puddings, rice, and other dishes.
Lemon juice is used to make lemonade, soft drinks, and cocktails. It
is used in marinades for fish, where its acid neutralizes amines in
fish by converting them into nonvolatile ammonium salts, and meat,
where the acid partially hydrolyzes tough collagen fibers, tenderizing
the meat, but the low pH denatures the proteins, causing them to dry
out when cooked.
Lemon juice is frequently used in the United Kingdom
to add to pancakes, especially on Shrove Tuesday.
Lemon juice is also used as a short-term preservative on certain foods
that tend to oxidize and turn brown after being sliced (enzymatic
browning), such as apples, bananas, and avocados, where its acid
denatures the enzymes.
In Morocco, lemons are preserved in jars or barrels of salt. The salt
penetrates the peel and rind, softening them, and curing them so that
they last almost indefinitely. The preserved lemon is used in a wide
variety of dishes. Preserved lemons can also be found in Sicilian,
Italian, Greek, and French dishes.
The leaves of the lemon tree are used to make a tea and for preparing
cooked meats and seafoods.
Lemons were the primary commercial source of citric acid before the
development of fermentation-based processes.
As a cleaning agent
The juice of the lemon may be used for cleaning. A halved lemon dipped
in salt or baking powder is used to brighten copper cookware. The acid
dissolves the tarnish and the abrasives assist the cleaning. As a
sanitary kitchen deodorizer the juice can deodorize, remove grease,
bleach stains, and disinfect; when mixed with baking soda, it removes
stains from plastic food storage containers. The oil of the
lemon's peel also has various uses. It is used as a wood cleaner and
polish, where its solvent property is employed to dissolve old wax,
fingerprints, and grime.
Lemon oil and orange oil are also used as a
nontoxic insecticide treatment.
A halved lemon is used as a finger moistener for those counting large
amounts of bills, such as tellers and cashiers.
Lemon oil may be used in aromatherapy.
Lemon oil aroma does not
influence the human immune system, but may contribute to
One educational science experiment involves attaching electrodes to a
lemon and using it as a battery to produce electricity. Although very
low power, several lemon batteries can power a small digital
watch. These experiments also work with other fruits and
Lemon juice may be used as a simple invisible ink, developed by
Lemons need a minimum temperature of around 7 °C (45 °F),
so they are not hardy year round in temperate climates, but become
hardier as they mature.
Citrus require minimal pruning by trimming
overcrowded branches, with the tallest branch cut back to encourage
bushy growth. Throughout summer, pinching back tips of the most
vigorous growth assures more abundant canopy development. As mature
plants may produce unwanted, fast-growing shoots called ‘water
shoots’, these are removed from the main branches at the bottom or
middle of the plant.
In cultivation in the UK, the cultivars ‘Meyer’ and
‘Variegata’ have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s
Award of Garden Merit
Award of Garden Merit (confirmed 2017).
Lemon production (with limes)
(in millions of tonnes)
In 2014, world production of lemons (data combined with limes) was
16.3 million tonnes. The top producers were India, Mexico, China,
Argentina, and Brazil, collectively accounting for 59% of total
Many plants taste or smell similar to lemons.
Certain cultivars of basil
Lemon balm, a mint-like herbaceous perennial in the
Two varieties of scented geranium: Pelargonium crispum (lemon
geranium) and Pelargonium x melissinum (lemon balm)
Limes, another common sour citrus fruit, used similarly to lemons
Certain cultivars of mint
Magnolia grandiflora tree flowers
Other citrus called 'lemons'
Flat lemon, a mandarin hybrid
Meyer lemon, a cross between a citron and a mandarin/pomelo hybrid
distinct from sour or sweet orange, named after Frank N. Meyer,
who first introduced it to the USA in 1908. Thin-skinned and slightly
less acidic than the Lisbon and Eureka lemons, Meyer lemons require
more care when shipping and are not widely grown on a commercial
basis. Meyer lemons often mature to a yellow-orange color. They are
slightly more frost-tolerant.
Ponderosa lemon, more cold-sensitive than true lemons, the fruit are
thick-skinned and very large. Genetic analysis showed it to be a
complex hybrid of citron and pomelo.
Rough lemon, a citron-mandarin cross, cold-hardy and often used as a
Sweet lemons or sweet limes, a mixed group including the lumia (pear
lemon), limetta, and Palestinian sweet lime. Among them is the Jaffa
lemon, a pomelo-citron hybrid.
Volkamer lemon, like the rough lemon, a citron-mandarin cross
Variegated pink lemon
List of lemon dishes and beverages
^ "The Plant List:
Citrus limon (L.) Osbeck". Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
and Missouri Botanic Garden. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
^ a b c d e f g h i j Julia F. Morton (1987). "
Lemon in Fruits of Warm
Climates". Purdue University. pp. 160–168.
^ Gulsen, O.; M. L. Roose (2001). "Lemons: Diversity and Relationships
Citrus Genotypes as Measured with Nuclear Genome
Markers". Journal of the American Society of Horticultural Science.
^ Genetic origin of cultivated citrus determined: Researchers find
evidence of origins of orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit, other citrus
species", Science Daily, January 26, 2011 (Retrieved February 10,
^ James Lind (1757). A treatise on the scurvy. Second edition. London:
^ Douglas Harper. "Online Etymology Dictionary".
^ Spalding, William A. (1885). The orange: its culture in California.
Riverside, California: Press and Horticulturist Steam Print.
p. 88. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
^ Carque, Otto (2006) . Rational Diet: An Advanced Treatise on
the Food Question. Los Angeles, California: Kessinger Publishing.
p. 195. ISBN 978-1-4286-4244-7. Retrieved March 2,
^ "Complete List of Four Winds Dwarf
Fourwindsgrowers.com. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
^ Buchan, Ursula (January 22, 2005). "Kitchen garden: lemon tree". The
Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
^ Vaiegated pink at the
Citrus Variety Collection.
^ "Taste of a thousand lemons". Los Angeles Times. September 8, 2004.
Retrieved November 21, 2011.
^ "New Zealand Citrus". ceventura.ucdavis.edu. Retrieved June 13,
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scavenging profile of juices of
Citrus limonum". Org Med Chem Lett. 4: 5.
doi:10.1186/2191-2858-4-5. PMC 4091952 .
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^ Penniston KL, Nakada SY, Holmes RP, Assimos DG (2008). "Quantitative
Assessment of Citric Acid in
Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, and
Juice Products" (PDF). Journal of
Endourology. 22 (3): 567–570. doi:10.1089/end.2007.0304.
PMC 2637791 . PMID 18290732.
^ M. Hofrichter (2010). Industrial Applications. Springer.
p. 224. ISBN 978-3-642-11458-8.
^ "6 ingredients for a green, clean home". Shine. Retrieved April 24,
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autonomic, endocrine, and immune function". Psychoneuroendocrinology.
33 (3): 328–39. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2007.11.015.
PMC 2278291 . PMID 18178322.
^ Cooke, B; Ernst, E (2000). "Aromatherapy: A systematic review"
(PDF). British Journal of General Practice. 50 (455): 493–6.
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^ Mirsky, Steve (April 20, 2010). "Invisible Ink and More: The Science
of Spying in the Revolutionary War". Scientific American. Retrieved
October 15, 2016.
^ a b c "Citrus". Royal Horticultural Society. 2017. Retrieved 19
^ "RHS Plantfinder -
Citrus × limon 'Meyer'". Retrieved 30 January
^ "RHS Plantfinder -
Citrus × limon 'Variegata'". Retrieved 30
^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July
2017. p. 20. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
^ a b "Production in 2014; Crops/Regions/World/Production Quantity
from pick lists". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations, Statistics Division (FAOSTAT). 2016. Retrieved 30 May
^ a b c d e Curk, Franck; Ollitrault, Frédérique; Garcia-Lor,
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Citrus × limon.
Data related to
Citrus × limon at Wikispecies
Look up lemon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Australian and Papuan wild limes
Indian wild orange
True and hybrid
Cara cara navel
Myrtle-leaved orange tree
Palestinian sweet lime
Rhobs el Arsa
Variegated pink lemon
Xã Đoài orange
Citrus halimii or Mountain "citron"
Australian and Papuan citrus
Australian outback lime
Australian round lime
Brown River finger lime
Mount white lime (Microcitrus)
New Guinea wild lime
Russell River lime
Orange flower water
List of citrus fruits
Mother Orange Tree
Citrus Experiment Station
University of California, Riverside
Citrus Variety Collection
Lemon delicious pudding
Lemon ice box pie
Lemon meringue pie
Sussex pond pudding
List of juices
Plant List: tro-28101295
BNF: cb12267718q (d