Citron Plant Information
Citron grows in the following 1 states:Florida
The citron is a large fragrant citrus fruit with a thick rind, botanically classified as Citrus medica by both the Swingle and Tanaka botanical name systems. It is one of the four original citrus fruits (the others being pomelo, mandarin and papeda), from which all other citrus types developed through natural hybrid speciation or artificial hybridization.
The fruit's English name "citron" derives ultimately from Latin, citrus, which is also the origin of the genus name.
A source of confusion is that citron or similar words in French, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Finnish, Latvian, the West Slavic languages, and all Germanic languages but 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.
In Persian languages, it is called Turunj, as against "Naraj" (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; in Japanese it is called Bushukan (maybe referring only to the fingered varieties).
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 is cooked in sugar, diced, and used as a confection.
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, as it is known when it is candied in sugar.
The dozens of varieties of citron are collectively known as Lebu in Bangladesh, 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, the citron is widely used in pickles and preserves. In Kutch, Gujarat, It is used to make pickle, where in entire slices of fruits are salted, dried and mixed with Jaggery and spices to make sweet spicy pickle. In the United States, citron is an important ingredient in holiday fruit cakes. In Korea, citron is used to make an herbal tea called yujacha, which supposedly helps to suppress coughing, relieve hangovers, and is effective in curing indigestion.
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 content and used medicinally as an anthelmintic, appetizer, tonic, in cough, rheumatism, vomiting, flatulence, haemorrhoids, skin diseases and weak eyesight.
There is an increasing market for the citron for the soluble fiber (pectin) found in its thick albedo.
The citron is also 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. Citrons used for ritual purposes cannot be grown by grafting branches.
A variety of citron native to China has sections that separate into finger-like parts and is used as an offering in Buddhist temples.
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.
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 (4-5kg) if not picked before fully mature. 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.
Citrus medica is a slow-growing shrub or small tree that reaches a height of about 8 to 15ft (2 to 5m). 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 7.0inches 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.
The citron tree is very vigorous with almost no dormancy, blooming several times a year, and is therefore fragile and extremely sensitive to frost.
The acidic varieties include the Florentine and Diamante citron from Italy, the Greek citron and the Balady citron from Israel. 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 is not pure citron, but a citron hybrid.
Despite the variation among the cultivars, authorities agree the citron is an old and original species. There is molecular evidence that all other cultivated citrus species arose by hybridization among four ancestral types, which are the citron, pomelo, mandarin and some papedas. The citron is believed to be the purest of them all, since it is usually fertilized by self-pollination, and is therefore generally considered to be a male parent of any citrus hybrid rather than a female one.
Today, authorities agree that all citrus species are native to Southeast Asia where they are found wild and in an uncultivated form. The story of how they spread to the Mediterranean has been reported by Francesco Calabrese, Henri Chapot, Samuel Tolkowsky, Elizabetta Nicolisi, and others.
The citron could also be native to India where it borders on Burma, in valleys at the foot of the Himalayas, and in the Indian Western Ghats. 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. Many mention the role of 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 Macedonia and Italy.
Leviticus mentions the "fruit of the tree hadar" as being required for ritual use during the 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.
The citron has been cultivated since ancient times, predating the cultivation of other citrus species.
The following description on citron was given by Theophrastus
Citron was also described by Pliny the Elder, who called it nata Assyria malus. The following is from his book Natural History:
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