Citron ( Citrus medica ). Shrub of the family of the rutáceas cultivated for its fruit, called citron, poncil, French lemon or grapefruit, which is rarely consumed fresh, but its skin is used in baking preparations and as a flavoring for its strong content in essential oils.


[ hide ]

  • 1 Taxonomy
    • 1 Scientific name
      • 1.1 Authors
    • 2 Combinations of this basonym
    • 3 Synonymy
    • 4 Common name
  • 2 Features
    • 1 Climate
    • 2 Soil
    • 3 Propagation
    • 4 Diseases and pests
  • 3 Habitat and distribution
  • 4 varieties
  • 5 Uses
    • 1 Medicinal uses
  • 6 References
  • 7 Sources


Scientific name

  • Citrus medica L. [1] [2]


  • Linnaeus, Carl von
  • Published in: Species Plantarum 2: 782. 1753. (1 May 1753 ) [3]

Combinations of this basonym

  • Aurantium medicum (L.) M. Gómez [4]


  • Aurantium medicum (L.) M. Gómez
  • Citreum vulgare Tourn. ex Mill.
  • Citrus × aurantium subvar. amilbed Engl.
  • Citrus × aurantium subvar. chakotra Engl.
  • Citrus × limon (L.) Burm. F.
  • Citrus × limon (L.) Osbeck
  • Citrus × limon var. digitata Risso
  • Citrus × limonia (L.) Osbeck
  • Citrus × limonum Risso
  • Citrus alata (Tanaka) Tanaka
  • Citrus fragrans Salisb.
  • Citrus limon (L.) Osbeck
  • Citrus medica f. Monstrous Guillaumin
  • Citrus medica subsp. bajoum H. Perrier
  • Citrus medica var. alata Tanaka
  • Citrus medica var. digitata Risso
  • Citrus medica var. ethrog Engl.
  • Citrus medica var. lemon L.
  • Citrus medica var. proper hook. F.
  • Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis (Hoola van Nooten) Swingle
  • Citrus odorata Roussel
  • Citrus sarcodactylis Hoola van Nooten
  • Citrus tuberosa Mill.
  • Sarcodactilis helicteroides Gaertn. [5]
  • Citrus × aurantium var. bergamia (Risso) Brandis
  • Citrus × aurantium var. proper Guillaumin
  • Citrus × aurantium var. Tamurana Yu.Tanaka
  • Citrus Balotina Poit. & Turpin
  • Citrus × bergamia subsp. mellarosa (Risso) Rivera, et al.
  • Citrus bicolor Poit. & Turpin
  • Citrus bigena Poit. & Turpin
  • Citrus cedra Link
  • Citrus cedrata Raf.
  • Citrus crassa Hassk.
  • Citrus gongra Raf.
  • Citrus grandis var. pyriformis (Hassk.) Karaya
  • Citrus hassaku Yu.Tanaka
  • Citrus hiroshimana Yu.Tanaka
  • Citrus kizu Yu.Tanaka
  • Citrus kwangsiensis Hu
  • Citrus limetta Risso
  • Citrus limetta subsp. murcica S.Ríos & al.
  • Citrus × limodulcis Rivera, et al.
  • Citrus limonimedica Lush.
  • Citrus lumia Risso
  • Citrus medica var. dulcis Risso & Poit.
  • Citrus medica f. lemon (L.) Hiroë
  • Citrus medica subsp. limonia (Risso) Hook. F.
  • Citrus medica var. limonum (Risso) Brandis
  • Citrus medica var. Nana Wester
  • Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus (Siebold ex Hoola van Nooten) Swingle
  • Citrus medica f. sudachi (Shirai) M.Hiroe
  • Citrus nana (Wester) Yu.Tanaka
  • Citrus pyriformis Hassk.
  • Citrus sarcodactylus Siebold ex Hoola van Nooten
  • Citrus sudachi Yu.Tanaka [Invalid]
  • Limon racemosum Mill.
  • Limon spinosum Mill.
  • Limon × vulgaris Ferrarius ex Miller [6]

Common name

Citron, citron, poncil, French lemon or grapefruit.


Citrus medica is a small evergreen tree or shrub, 2.5 to 5 m tall, with a twisted stem and a dense, rigid branch, with spines in the leaf axils. The leaves are simple, alternate, elliptical to lanceolate, up to 18 cm long, with a leathery surface and dark green on the upper part, with a distinctive lemon fragrance , located at the end of short petioles. Produces flowers hermaphrodite, fragrant, good size, white or purple, forming small clusters. They have 4 to 5 petals, with 30 to 60 stamens.

The fruit is a hesperidium oblong or globose, rarely pyriform, up to 30 cm in diameter, varying greatly between specimens and even in the same specimen, with a well-marked style. It is covered with a thick, fleshy shell attached to the endocarp, yellow or greenish in color, with small and often rough oil glands. It has 10 to 15 carpels, firm, little juicy, sweet or acid depending on the variety. The seeds are usually small, monoembryonic, smooth, white on the inside and abundant.


The citron tree is very sensitive to frost, it does not enter winter dormancy as early as other citrus species. The foliage and fruits are easily damaged by very intense heat and drought. The best locations for citron are those where there are no extremes of temperature .


The soils where citron is grown vary considerably, but the tree requires good aeration


Citrons grow easily from cuttings taken from branches 2 to 4 years old and buried deep and fast in the ground without defoliation. For faster growth, the citron can be grafted in “rough lemon”, grapefruit , sour orange or sweet orange , but the fruits do not reach the size of those produced from cuttings, and the citron tends to make the pattern grow more. Rough lemon has been found too susceptible to gummy to be used as a citron pattern in Colombia . The ‘Etrog’, to be acceptable for ritual use, cannot be grafted.

Diseases and pests

The citron tree is undoubtedly susceptible to most pests that attack other citrus species. The citrus bud mite (Eriophyes sheldoni), the citrus mite (Phyllocoptruta oleivora), and the snowy eschar (Unaspis citri) are among its main enemies. Horticulturists in Florida report that citron trees in that state are almost always stunted, subject to gomosis, and generally in a state of decay and regressive death, and are consequently low producers. Branch knots, caused by the fungus Sphaeropsis tumefaciens, were first noted on citron trees in Puerto Rico in 1977. In 1983 , it had become a serious threat to the local citron industry. The deformations become large and necrotic, leading to the “witch’s broom”, regressive death and the breaking of the branches.

Habitat and distribution

The origin of Citrus medica is unknown, but domestic seeds have been documented since the 4th millennium BC. C .; probably Alexander the Great’s army introduced it into the basin of the Mediterranean Sea , and its cultivation quickly spread. In ancient Rome it was used primarily as a medicinal product, and from the 2nd century onwards for food purposes; Both Dioscorides and Pliny record it. It must have been cultivated in Judea in Biblical times, since its fruit – called etrog in Hebrew – is one of the ritual species used in the festival of Sukkot. In Italy they disappeared with the fall of the Roman Empire, being preserved only in Sicily , Sardinia and the Neapolitan region.

He arrived in America by way of Spain ; the conquerors introduced it to Florida , Puerto Rico and finally California ; Although commercial plantations developed, eventually the difficulty of their growth led to their abandonment. In Central America, Brazil and Colombia it has become naturalized, and there are plantations of some size, especially for export.


Citron cultivars are mainly of two types:

  1. Those with pink, blossoms buds flowerspurple petals and coloredpurple inside and acidic pulp layer of dark seed.
    2. Those that do not have pink or purple coloration in the buds or in the flowers, with non-acidic pulp and the colorless inner cover of the seed.

Among the best known cultivars are:

‘Córsica’ unknown origin, but the leading citron of Corsica; introduced in the United States around 1891 and, apparently, the California- grown variety , ellipsoid or slightly obovate, furrowed at the base, large, yellow skin, rough, lumpy, very thick, fleshy; the crisp pulp, little juicy, not acidic, with many seeds. Small, broad, moderately prickly tree with some large thorns. ‘Diamante’ (‘Cedro Liscio’, possibly the same as ‘Italiana’ and ‘Siciliana’) of unknown origin, but the leading variety in Italyand preferred by processors elsewhere; long-oval or ellipsoid, furrowed at the base, with wide nipples at the apex; skin yellow, smooth or slightly ribbed, very thick, fleshy; crisp pulp, not juicy, acidic, with many seeds. Small, broad, thorny tree like ‘Córsica’. Very similar to a cultivar called “Earle” in Cuba .

‘Etrog’ (‘Ethrog’, ‘Atrog’; Citrus medica var. Ethrog Engl.) The main variety in Israel , ellipsoid, spindle-shaped or lemon- shaped , with a moderate neck, and often stylized at the base, with prominent nipple at the apex; Moderately small when harvested, if not collected, they will remain on the tree, continuing to grow for years, until the stem cannot support it. For ritual use, the fruit should weigh about 5 ounces (142 g) and not be oblong in shape. The shell is yellow, semi-rough, slightly ribbed, thick, fleshy; the pulp is crisp, firm, with little juice, acidic, with many seeds. The tree is small, not vigorous, leaves rounded at the apex and hollowed out. This crop has been the official citron in the Feast of Tabernacles ritual.

‘Fingered Citron’ (‘Buddha’s Hand’, or ‘Buddha’s Fingers’; Citrus medica var. Sarcodactylus Swing.); called Shou Fu in China , bushukon in Japan , limau jari, jeruk tangan, limau kerat lingtang, in Malaysia ; djerook tangan in Indonesia ; som-mu in Thailand ; phât thu in Vietnam . The fruit is corrugated, totally or partially divided into about 5 finger-shaped segments, with little or no pulp, without seeds or with lost seeds. The fruit is very fragrant and is placed as an offering on the altars of the temples. It is cultivated in China and Japan, they are candied in China. In Northwest India , there are several named types in addition to the ‘finger’:

‘Bajoura’ small, with thin skin, lots of acidic juice. ‘Chhangura’ is believed to be a wild form and is often found in the wild, small, rough fruits without pulp.

‘Madhankri’ or ‘Madhankri’ large fruits, with sweet pulp.

‘Turunj’ large fruits, with thick skins, the inner part white, sweet and edible; scarce, dry, acid pulp. The leaves are oblong and with a notch at the apex.


Citrons are used for the manufacture of jams and liqueurs. They are mainly cultivated for their husk, generally candied and used in baking. Known in antiquity for its healing properties, it does not consume. In Muslim Spain its candied fruits were consumed , the citrons, with sugar , and the nectar resulting from the distillation of its flowers was used to dress table olives . Fruit : In China and Japan, people value citron for its fragrance, and it is a common practice in the northand central China carry a ripe fruit in hand or place the fruit on a plate on a table to perfume the air in a room. The nuts are put on the stored clothing to repel moths. In southern China, the juice is used to wash fine clothes. Previously, the essential oil in the shell was distilled for use in perfumery.

  • Leaves and branches: In some of the islands of the South Pacific, “Cedrat Petitgrain Oil” is distilled from the leaves and branches of citron trees for the French perfume industry.
  • Flowers: The flowers have been distilled by the essential oil, which has limited use in perfume making.
  • Wood: The branches of the citron tree are used as walking sticks in India . The wood is white , hard, heavy, and fine-grained. In India, it is used for agricultural implements.

Medical uses

In ancient times and in the Middle Ages , the “Etrog” was used as a remedy for sea sickness, lung problems, intestinal diseases and other diseases. The juice of the citron with wine was considered an effective purgative to eliminate poisons from the body . In India , peel is a remedy for dysentery and is eaten to overcome halitosis . The distilled juice is given as a sedative. Candied peel is sold in China as a stomach, stimulant, expectorant, and tonic. In tropical West Africa , citron is used only as a medicine, in particular against rheumatism .

The flowers are used medicinally by the Chinese. In Malaysia , a decoction of the fruit is taken to drive away evil spirits. A decoction of the buds of wild plants is administered to improve appetite, relieve stomach pain , and expel pinworms . The juice of the leaves , along with that of Polygonum and Indigofera is taken after delivery . An infusion of the leaves is given as an antispasmodic. In Southeast Asia , citron seeds are used as a vermifuge. In Panama, are ground and combined with other ingredients, and used as an antidote to poisons. The essential oil in the shell is considered an antibiotic .


Leave a Comment