Citrus Mix Citrus Family   -   Rutaceae

The highly aromatic Rutaceae family (named for the bitter herb Rue) is a member of the important order Sapindales. The most familiar genus is Citrus, and the family is often called the Citrus Family. Several other genera have a less prominent role in culinary affairs. The common edible citrus varieties are all tropical or subtropical and of Asian origin.

More on Sapindales.

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Rutaceae   -   General

This section contains members of the family Rutaceae that are not of the genus Citrus.


Bael   -   [Bengal quince, Golden apple, Japanese bitter orange, Stone apple, Wood apple; Ohshit (Burma); Aegle marmelos]
Bael, broken open

This medium size tree is native to India, Nepal, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Burma, as well as naturalized in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malesia.The ripe fruit, up to the size of a Pomello, is yellow when ripe and has an extremely hard rind that must be broken open with a mallet or machete. The aromatic pulp surrounding the seeds is use both for food and medicinally throughout the tree's range. The flavor is similar to marmalade made from citrus and tamarind. It is usually used to make beverages, either from fresh fruit or by soaking dried slices in water. The leaves and small shoots are eaten as salad greens.   Photo by Asit K. Ghosh distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Unported.

Curry Leaf   -   [Kari Leaf; Karuveppilai (Tamil, Malay (Black Neem Leaf)); Kari Patta (Hindi); R. Murraya koenigii]
Stems of Curry Leaves

Essential to the cuisines of Southern India and Sri Lanka this citrus leaf has no substitute and is not worth much dried. Fortunately it is now grown in Southern California and can be had fresh from most Indian markets, at least around here. They keep only a few of weeks refrigerated and not as long as you'd expect in the freezer, unless you freeze them covered with water. The tree bears pea sized black berries with a sweet resinous taste, but I've not heard of them being used for cooking. Details & Cooking.

Gin Berry   -   [Orangeberry; Glycosmis pentaphylla]
Gin Berries and Leaves

This large shrub is native to South, East and Southeast Asia, and northern Australia. The juicy fruit, up to 0.4 inch diameter, is spicy, tasting somewhat like gin. It has found some popularity in cultivation in the Caribbean region.   Photo by Fagg, M., credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens .

Lemon Aspen   -   [Acronychia acidula]
Lemon Aspen Fruit on Plant

This plant is native to north Queensland, in northeast Australia. It produces small, tart, aromatic fruit, about 1 inch diameter, with a lime-grapefruit flavor. It is cultivated on a small scale in commercial bushfood orchards. The fruit is popular in beverages, confections and sauces, and is valued for its high antioxidant content. It is also made into jam similar in flavor to marmalade.   Photo by John Moss contributed to the Public Domain.

Limonia   -   [Wood apple, Elephant apple, Monkey fruit, R. Limonia acidissima]
Limonia Broken Open

Native to South and Southeast Asia from Pakistan to Java and as far south as Sri Lanka, this fruit has a rind so hard it can be carved into utensils. The fruit can be up to 3-1/2 inches in diameter and when cracked emits a strong citrus aroma from its sticky brown pulp. It is eaten plain, made into beverages and deserts and preserved as jam. The bark yields an edible gum used as a thickener and various parts of the tree are used medicinally.
Photo released into the Public Domain.

Limoncito   -   [Lime berry, R. Triphasia trifolia]
Limoncitos on Tree

Native to Malaysia, this fruit is now grown in other subtropical and tropical regions of the world for it's fruit. The fruit can be up to 5/8 inch in diameter and resembles a small citrus fruit. It has a sweet citrus like flavor and a juicy, somewhat mucilaginous pulp. It is used similar to citrus and may be pickled or made into jams.
Photo copyright kybrdgal subject to attribution.

Rue   -   [Herb of Grace, R. Ruta graveolens]
Growing Rue Plant

Native to southern Europe, genus Ruta is the type genus for the entire citrus family. Once a significant culinary herb in Rome and the Near East, rue has declined greatly in use due to changing tastes (it is intensely bitter). In Europe and North America it is now grown mainly as a decorative, but is used in cooking in North Africa, particularly Ethiopia where both leaves and berries are used.

Rue does still appear in some traditional recipes in Greece and is used as a flavoring for certain alcoholic beverages. It has a number of medicinal uses and is reputed to be a powerful inducer of abortion. Ironically, it is the national herb of Lithuania and associated with virginity and maidenhood there.

Sichuan Peppercorn   -   [Flower Pepper, Prickly Ash (eng), jiao (china) R. Zanthoxylum piperitum, Z. simulans]
Dried Sichaun Peppercorns

Dried fruits of the Chinese prickly ash tree. These "peppercorns" are essential to the famous Sichuan cuisine of China and a similar fruit is important in Nepal. They are quite unique with a remarkably sharp, citrusy flavor and a numbing anesthetic effect on the tongue. Other countries have related species with flavors that vary more or less from the Chinese. Some of these are listed at Details and Cooking.

Wampee   -   [Wampi; Clausena lansium]
Bunch of Wampee Fruit on Tree

This medium size tree is native to Southeast Asia. The moderately sour fruits are about 0.8 inch diameter and 1.2 inches long. The tree is popular in cultivation in China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It is cultivated to a lesser extent in India and Sri Lanka, and occasionally in Hawaii and Florida. The fruits normally contain from 2 to 5 seeds, but a seedless variety has been developed.   Photo by WingkLEE contributed to the Public Domain.

White Sapote   -   [Sleep Sapote; Zapote Blanko (Spanish); Cochitzapotl (Nahuatl = sleep-sapote); Casimiroa edulis]
Whole and cut White Sapote

Native to Eastern Mexico and Central America, this tree became a popular decorative in Southern California in the 1920s - a popularity which waned rapidly as the trees matured and started dropping a couple thousand pounds of sticky fruit on people's patios. Mine is still small and only produces a little over 100 pounds of fruit a year. The fruit is sweet and mild, with a hint of banana, vanilla, peach or pear depending on variety. It is not very marketable because it is extremely tender when ripe and the ripe to over-ripe time is very short.

It has been known since pre-Colombian times that eating this fruit induces drowsiness. A tea made from the seeds is said to be an effective sleep potion without noticeable side effects (I haven't tried it yet). This tree is not to be confused with the Black Sapote, which is a variety of persimmon, or the Mamey Sapote, of family Sapotaceae.

Citrus   -   Genus Within Rutaceae

General and History

Citrus has a casual attitude toward cross breeding and impromptu variation that rivals even that of the notorious nightshades. Trying to make proper order out of it all is problematic, so some of my practical categorizations here may not be strictly correct botanically - but the botanists can't agree with each other anyway.

The citrus fruits we are familiar with are crosses between two or more other citrus varieties. Citrus is highly promiscuous and doesn't respect species boundaries. There are four wild true-breeding species from which all the others are derived:

  • Citrus aurantifolia - Key lime.
  • Citrus maxima - Pomelo.
  • Citrus medica - Citron.
  • Citrus reticulata - Mandarin
Botanists are suspicious that even these four may not be "pure", but they don't know what they might be derived from.

Commercial propagation is generally by cuttings because what you'll get from seeds is highly unreliable, and some varieties don't have seeds.


Bergamot Orange   -   [Citrus bergamia alt Citrus aurantium subsp. bergamia ]
Whole and Cut Bergamot Orange

This citrus fruit is thought to be a cross between the Bitter Orange and Limetta. It is grown mainly for aromatic oils extracted from the peel, used for flavoring Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas, some liqueurs and Turkish Delight confections. A marmalade is made from the peel in Syria, and possibly other places. The fruit pulp is not considered edible, but the juice is used in some local areas.

This is the orange from which Orange Blossom Water, much used in Mediterranean cuisines, is made. It takes 7 pounds of blossoms to make a gallon of fragrant water. 80% of the entire commercial crop is grown in Calabria, Italy. Some is grown in southern France, Ivory Coast, Africa, and in southern Turkey, but the quality of the essential oil is not as good due to soil differences.   Photo by Leslie Seaton distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Calamansi   -   [Calamondin; X Citrofortunella microcarpa]
Whole and Cut Calamansi

A tiny citrus fruit similar to an orange but more sour, widely planted in Southeast Asia and particularly the Philippines. A cross between a kumquat and a mandarin, it is not known in the wild and isn't much grown in the U.S. because it is very frost tender. In the Philippines and Southeast Asia it is used green to make preserves and ripe to make fruit syrup, juice and as a flavoring for meat.

In Southern California and Hawaii they're often available in Philippine markets, but the cost is too high for uses that call for a lot of them. Calamansi juice can be found in the frozen food cases at Philippine markets, but if you can't get it use 3 parts lemon juice, 1 part orange juice. That'll be a little sweeter than real Calamansi, but close enough for most uses.

Citron   -   [Citrus medica]
Native to Persia and Media, the Citron was the first citrus fruit brought to Europe, thus gave its name to the whole genus. Citrons are barely edible with a thick lumpy rind and what little flesh they may have is dry and full of seeds. The aromatic oils of its thick peel are widely used for flavoring drinks, perfumes, etc. The peel itself is often cut into strips and candied for use in making fruitcakes - also widely considered inedible.

Citron - Buddha's Hand   -   [Fingered Citron]
Many Fingered Citron

This mutation apparently originated in Northeastern India and is popular as a curiosity. It has no seeds and no or very little juiceless flesh. The rind is, as with other citrons, highly aromatic. In the West the fingers are used as peel would be, but also can be thinly sliced for salads and the like. The white pith is not bitter as it is in most citrus so can be included with the yellow zest. In Asia it is used to perfume rooms and personal items.   Details and Cooking.   Photo by Voyou Desoeuvre distributed under Creative Commons v2.0 license.

Citron   -   [Etrog (Hebrew)]
Whole Etrog Citrons These fruits are fairly large and can grow up to 6 inches long, but the rind is very thick and what little flesh they may have is dry and full of seeds. Shape and skin texture varies greatly depending on where on the tree the fruit grew. The citron was known during Roman times, at first for medicinal purposes, to repel insects and as a perfume, but by the 2nd century CE was being used in cooking as well. The peel is candied for use in fruitcakes and other baked goods and is featured in the Hebrew holiday of Sukkot.   Details and Cooking.   Photo by Yankelowitz contributed to the public domain.

Grapefruit - see Pomelo and Grapefruit.

Japanese Citrus   -   [Citrus ichangensis x C. reticulata]
These citrus fruits, popular in Japan, have similar uses and all three may appear in ponzu sauce formulas, separately or together. Ponzu is used similarly to how vinegar is used.

Kabosu   -   [Citrus sphaerocarpa   but may be a cultivar of Yuzu]
Whole and Cut Kabosu Fruit

This Japanese citrus fruit is, like the Yuzu, thought to be a cross between a sour mandarin and an Ichang papeda (Ichang lemon, Citrus ichangensis). This fruit is very much like the Sudachi and very similarly used. It is generally sold when it is green and between 1-1/2 and 2 inches diameter.   Photo by B.K. Bullock contributed to the public domain.

Sudachi   -   [Citrus sudachi   but now thought to be a cultivar of Yuzu]
Whole Sudachi Fruits

This Japanese citrus fruit is, like the Yuzu, thought to be a cross between a sour mandarin and an Ichang papeda (Ichang lemon, Citrus ichangensis). The fruit is generally sold when it is green and between 1-1/2 and 2 inches diameter, when they are at the height of their flavor. A few are sold when ripe and bright yellow. These are most favored for their tart spicy juice but the zest is also used. They are used to flavor fish, soups and mushrooms, and used in ponzu blends. Some are now grown in Southern California and sold, in late summer and early fall, at the Beverly Hills and Santa Monica Farmer's markets, places I wouldn't go on a bet. High price Westside chefs scramble for them before the official opening times.   Photo by Lexicon contributed to the public domain.

Yuzu   -   [Yuja (Korea); Citrus ichangensis x C. reticulata var. austera]
Whole Yuzu Fruit

Believed to be a cross between a sour mandarin and an Ichang papeda (Ichang lemon, Citrus ichangensis), this citrus native to East Asia is usually about 2-1/2 inches in diameter though can grow to almost 4 inches. It is relatively cold tolerant so able to be grown in Japan. The flavor is similar to grapefruit with hints of mandarin but it is seldom eaten. The zest is used as a garnish and the juice is used similarly to lemon juice, particularly in the Japanese sauce ponzu. Oil from the peel is marketed as a fragrance.   Photo by Titanium22 distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution v2.5.

Kumquat   -   [Citrus japonica   -   prev. genus Fortunella, various species]
Whole and Cut Kumquats

These small fruits, belonging to the genus Fortunella, originated in China. Most common in the U.S. are the Nagami (oval) and Marumi (round). The kumquat has a sweet rind and sour flesh, just the opposite of the closely related citrus fruits. In the U.S. it is generally eaten raw in salads, used in place of olives in martinis, or made into marmalade and the shrub is a common backyard ornamental in Southern California. They are in season from late autumn to mid-winter but are generally available most of the year. The photo specimens were typically 1-3/8 inches long, 1 inch diameter and weighed 1/2 ounce each.

Lemons are the favored acid fruit in sub-tropical climates, being a bit more cold tolerant than the lime. Eureka / Lisbon lemons are somewhat less acid than limes.

Eureka & Lisbon Lemon
Whole and cut Eurika Lemons These are the standard commercial lemons grown in California, juicy with high acidity and few seeds. In the store the varieties are indistinguishable but on the tree the Eureka are at the tips of branches and the Lisbon farther in behind the leaves, thus better in marginal weather locations. The photo specimens were typically 2-5/8 inches in diameter and weighed 6-5/8 ounces.

Meyer Lemon
Whole and Cut Meyer Lemon Popular in California back yards this cross between a lemon and a mandarin is less sour than Eureka and has a bit of tangerine flavor. It has an oval shape and a thin skin that's quite orange compared to other lemons. It is not marketed widely because its a bit soft and keeping properties are not as good as other lemons. The photo specimens were typically 2-1/2 inches in diameter and weighed 4-3/4 ounces.

Ponderosa Lemon   -   [Football Lemon]
Whole Ponderosa Lemon

The giant of the lemon world, it's actually a cross between a lemon and a citron. This small tree is grown mainly as an ornamental but the fruit has good lemon flavor and produces a lot of juice. The fruit is roughly spherical with a thick bumpy skin and can weigh up to 2 pounds. The photo specimen was about 8 inches diameter.   Photo by Kowloonese placed in the Public Domain.

Preserved Lemon   -   [Lemon Pickle]
Whole and Cut Preserved Lemon

An essential for the cuisine of Morocco and the rest of North Africa, with use extending through the Middle East, India and Cambodia. They were formerly used in England and North America, but improved transportation now brings fresh lemons. Their brine is still used in Bloody Marys and the like.

Preserved lemons can be found packed in jars in markets serving a North African or Levantine community, but are better made at home (see below). Those imported from Egypt are small, about 1-3/8 inches diameter, weighing 3/4 ounce. Those made in North America are quite a bit larger. The photo specimens, made from thin skinned Southern California "backyard" lemons were about 2-3/8 inches diameter. Details & Recipe.

Sweet Lemon   -   [var. Pomona]
Whole and Cut Sweet Lemons

Ready to squeeze lemonade! There are several varieties of sweet lemon used in the Mediterranean and India, but as far as I can tell the Pomona variety (originating in Pomona, California) is the one sold commercially here. The flesh has a touch of the flavor of Kaffir Lime and even the skin is edible, not bitter as with most lemons. The photo specimens were typically 2-1/2 inches in diameter and weighed 4-1/2 ounces.

While lemons are the major acid citrus in the subtropical world, their place is taken by limes in the tropics. Limes are somewhat more acid than lemons. They turn yellow-green when fully ripe but are always marketed while still dark green.

Key Lime - Green   -   [Mexican Lime, West Indian Lime, Kaghzi nimbu (India), Limum baladi (Egypt), doc (Morocco), Gallego lime (Brazil), Limon corriente (Latin America); C. aurantifolia]
Whole and Cut Key Limes

These are what limes are like in most of the world. This has caused considerable confusion in North America when foreign cookbooks say things like "a lump of tamarind the size of a lime". These are as found in most markets, picked and shipped very unripe for durability. They are not suited for Key Lime Pie - you might as well use larger Persian Limes instead. The photo specimens were typically 1.4 inches in diameter and weighed about 1 ounce.

Key Lime - Yellow   -   [Mexican Lime, West Indian Lime, Kaghzi nimbu (India), Limum baladi (Egypt), doc (Morocco), Gallego lime (Brazil), Limon corriente (Latin America); C. aurantifolia]
Whole and Cut Yellow Key Limes

These are Key Limes properly ripened, aromatic and suitable for making Key Lime Pie - unless you're a purist who lives in the Florida Keys and insist on only yellow Key limes grown there. The photo specimens were typically 1.4 inches diameter and weighed 0.8 ounces each. The photo specimens were purchased at a Los Angeles (Montrose) Farmer's Market from a specialty grower at 2017 US $6 per pound.

Persian Lime   -   [Tahiti Lime, Bearss Lime; C. latifolia]
Whole and Cut Persian Limes

This large lime, probably a cross between a lime and a citron, is the primary lime grown in California. It found its way to the Mediterranean through Persia and to California through Tahiti. It's slightly less aromatic than the key lime but tests with key lime pies found little difference except the large Persians were a lot less work. The photo samples were typically 2-1/2 inches in diameter and weighed 5-3/4 ounces.

Kaffir Lime   -   [makrut (Thai), Krauch Soeuch (Cambodia), Limau Purut (Malay), Citrus hystrix]
Whole and Cut Kaffir Limes with Leaf

Not really a lime, this fruit is native to Southeast Asia and used particularly in Thai Cuisine. The odd double leaves are most used, often in soups, but the rind of the fruit is used in Thai curry pastes. The rind is also used to flavor rum in Réunion and Madagascar. Many references say the juice is inedible but I do not find that the case, though there isn't a lot of juice in a kaffir lime.

The shrub makes a very nice and useful decorative which can be grown in a container, so many nurseries stock them. When fully ripe, the fruit turns just a touch yellowish and falls from the tree but it is generally used before that stage. Details and Cooking

Finger Lime   -   [Citrus australasica]
Finger Limes, whole and cut

The shrubs that produce these limes grow wild in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia, but there is now some cultivation in that region. It is also now being grown on a small scale in California, because of demand from the fancy chef set.

This fruit is unique in several ways, other than its shape. The juice vesicles separate completely into tiny beads, described as "citrus caviar". This has become popular as a garnish in expensive restaurants. Finger limes come in a wide range of colors: green, yellow, orange, red, purple, pink, black and brown. The largest of the photo specimens was 2-3/4 inches long, 0.8 inch diameter and weighed 5/8 ounce.   Details and Cooking.

Desert Lime   -   [Outback Lime; Citrus glauca]
Desert Lime on Tree

The thorny shrubs that produce these limes are native to Queensland, New South Wales and southern Australia. It's tolerance for cold and drought have made it important to citrus breeders. It has also become important commercially, so domestication is in progress. A particular variety has been selected for development and named "Outback Lime". This lime is used for beverages and marmalades, and the peel is also candied.   Photo by Mark Marathon distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Dried Limes   -   [Black Lime, Amani, Omani (Persia), Loomi, Lumi(Arab)]
Whole Dried Limes

An important item in the cuisines of Persia (Iran) and countries that have been under Persian influence. Limes are boiled in salt water, then sun dried. Used in lentil, rice or meat dishes they may be crushed or may simply be pierced and added whole to slow simmering dishes to provide tartness and a citrus fragrance. The hard outer shell contains mainly a dry black powder.

Limequat   -   [C. x floridana]
Limequats on Tree

A cross between a Kumquat and a Lime. Greenish yellow when mature, it has a sweet rind and slightly bitter pulp like a Kumquat but with a distinctly lime flavor. It is grown in small quantities in California and Florida and can sometimes be found during the autumn and winter months.  Photo released to the public domain.

Limetta   -   [Sweet Lime, Sweet Limetta; Mmosambi (India); Citrus limetta]
Whole & Cut Limettas

This small tree (to 25 feet) is native to Southeast Asia, but is now widely grown in the Mediterranean region, India, Iran and southern Mexico. It is low in acidity and lightly sweet, but retains a light lime flavor. The left photo specimen was 3-5/8 inches diameter, 2-7/8 inches high and weighed 10-7/8 ounces. American varieties tend to have a dimple at the flower end, as just visible in the photo, while those in South Asia (Mosambi cultivar) generally do not.

Juice of this fruit is the most common citrus juice in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, often sold freshly squeezed by street vendors and flavored with a dash of salty Chat Masala. It needs to be freshly squeezed because it fairly quickly turns bitter when exposed to air, but it freezes well.

Limetta is ripe when green-yellow, heavy in weight for its size, and a fingernail scratch produces aromatic oil from the rind. It will keep up to 2 weeks at a cool room temperature and 6 to 8 weeks refrigerated. The photo specimens were purchased from a large multi-ethnic grocery store in Los Angeles, for 2015 US $0.99 / pound.


Bitter Orange   -   [Sour Orange, Seville Orange, Bigarade, Citrus aurantium]
Whole and Cut Bitter Oranges

A native of Southeast Asia, this was the only type of orange known in Europe until after 1500 and now grows cultivated or wild in most subtropical areas of the world. A large portion of the crop is shipped to England and Scotland for the manufacture of marmalade. Peel and oil also find extensive use in flavorings for liquors, candies and the like. It is a popular herbal remedy, said to provide a "safe" form of Ephedrine, but this safety is not medically proven.

The most available variety in the U.S. and Europe is the Seville Orange which has a lumpy rind and very tart flesh. It's less sour than a lemon and has a distinctly orangy flavor, but it isn't something most people would want to eat out of hand. In Florida they are used for making pies.   Details & Cooking

Blood Orange   -   [PLU #4381 Citrus sinensis]
Whole and Cut Blood Oranges

There are a number of red fleshed "blood" oranges but the Moro variety, possibly of Sicilian descent, is the most commonly grown in California and has the deepest color. Blood oranges are currently an "in item" and in good supply when in season, which runs from January to May. The color, caused by anthocyanin pigments (the same as in grapes and red cabbage) deepens as the season progresses. The photo specimens were typically 2-5/8 inch diameter and weighed 5 ounces.

Navel Orange   -   [Citrus sinensis]
Whole and Cut Navel Orange

This orange was discovered in Brazil and brought to California where it is a major crop variety. The distinguishing feature is a second, partially developed orange embedded in the flower end of the fruit. This causes an indentation or projection resembling a human navel at the flower end. This is large orange with a thick easily peeled rind, no seeds and the segments separate very easily making it a desirable eating orange. Older trees produce fruit with a thicker pith layer in the rind. Navels are not used for juice because the juice turns bitter if not used right away. The photo sample was 4-1/4 inches in diameter and weighed 1 pound 3 ounces (I have bought them up to 2 pounds). Available from November to around April.

Seville Orange - see Bitter Orange.

Valencia Orange   -   [Citrus sinensis]
Whole and Cut Valencia Oranges

The most widely grown varieties of orange in the U.S. and accounting for about half of all oranges grown. Florida Valencias are mainly juice varieties but California Valencias tend to be larger and more peelable so they can substitute for navel oranges when those are out of season. Valencias are available most of the year. The photo specimens, from Texas and sold as juice oranges, were typically 3-1/4 inches diameter and weighed 8-1/2 ounces. They tasted exactly like orange juice.

Orangequat -
A cross between a Kumquat and a Orange. It has a sweet rind and slightly bitter pulp like a Kumquat but is quite a bit larger with a distinctly orange flavor.

Pomelos & Grapefruit

Grapefruit   -   [Citrus x paradisi]
Whole and Cut Red Grapefruit

This cross between a Pomelo and an Orange, originally found in Barbados, is named from the way the fruit clusters on the branches. The grapefruit is now grown primarily in Florida and Texas and in many varieties within three broad categories: white, pink and red. The whites tend to be very sour, even a little bitter while the reds tend to be quite sweet and the pinks somewhere in between - but there are exceptions. Grapefruits are mainly used as a breakfast fruit and as juice, often mixed with other juices. Caution: grapefruit can greatly speed up absorption of certain drugs resulting in unexpected overdose. The photo example, a sweet red grapefruit, was 4-1/4 inches in diameter and weighed 1 pound 1 ounce.

Grapefruit - Cocktail Grapefruit
Whole and Cut Cocktail Grapefruits

This cross between a Pomelo and a Frua Mandarin is smallish, has lots of seeds and is very sweet with little of the distinctive grapefruit taste, in fact it tastes like a cross between a Pomelo and a Mandarin. They are quite juicy but the membranes are fragile and the flesh soft so if you try to eat one with a grapefruit spoon it will kind of mush up. They are best squeezed for juice. The larger of the photo specimens was 2-3/4 inches in diameter and weighed 13-1/2 ounces.

Melogold   -   [Citrus x paradisi '4n Marsh']
Whole and Cut Melogold

A cross between a Siamese Sweet Pomelo and a white grapefruit developed at the University of California, Riverside at the same time as Oroblanco, but released a few years later. It is heavier than Oroblanco due to its thinner rind, which can be peeled like an orange. The membranes are not as bitter, and the taste is more pomelo than grapefruit. The photo specimens were purchased at a large Asian market in Los Angles (San Gabriel) for 2016 US $0.99 each. The sign said "Oroblanco", but the grower's sticker said "California Melogold". The photo specimens were 4-7/8 inch diameter and weighed 1 pound 5 ounces each.

Oroblanco   -   [Citrus x paradisi '4n Marsh']
Whole and Cut Oroblancos

A cross between a Siamese Sweet Pomelo and a white grapefruit developed at the University of California, Riverside. Early versions were green and didn't sell well. The market from which I bought the photo specimens called them "Pomelo Grapefruit". They have sweet flesh but the thick rind and membranes have a bitterness inherited from the pomelo. The photo specimen was 5-5/8 inches diameter and weighed 15-1/4 ounces.

Pomelo   -   [Chinese Grapefruit; Jabong (Hawaii); Shaddock (Caribbean); Pamplemousse (variously spelled in European countries that don't use Pomelo); Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis]
Whole and Cut Pomelos

Native to Southeast Asia, the Pomelo is now grown in tropical and subtropical areas all over Asia and the Pacific Islands, as well as in California and Florida. The flesh may be pale yellow to red depending on variety (pink is currently replacing pale yellow in California) and tastes like a very mild sweet grapefruit. The rind tends to be very thick and distinctly bitter as are the membranes. It is a large fruit. The photo specimens were 5-1/2 inches diameter and they weighed a shade uner 2 pounds each, but they can be over 9 inches diameter and nearly 4-1/2 pounds.   Details and Cooking.

Sweetie / Jaffa Sweetie
Whole and Cut Sweeties

A cross between a Pomelo and a Grapefruit very similar to the Oroblanco but developed independently in Israel. It remains dark green even when fully ripe and sweet. In Israel they've marketed green as a feature. It's sweeter than a grapefruit, not from more sugar, but from less acid. It has the pomelo's thick rind. Photo by Yotam distributed under Creative Commons v2.5 license.

Tangerine / Mandarin & Related   -   [Citrus reticulata]

  • Tangerine and Mandarin are synonymous.
  • Tangelo: is a cross between a mandarin and a pomelo or grapefruit.
  • Tangor: is a cross between a mandarin and an orange.
Tangerines originated in China, but got the name "Tangerine" from having first been shipped to Europe through the port of Tagier, Morocco.

California Mandarin   -   [California Honey Mandarin]
Whole and opened California Mandarin

This fruit is a definite winner, but not common in stores because of it's small size, and that some have seeds. It is very sweet with excellent flavor. The skin is thin, but peels easily, and the segments separate very easily. The photo specimens were typically 1-7/8 inches diameter and weighed 1-1/2 ounces.

Clementine   -   [Algerian tangerine, Kalamintina (Arab)]
Whole and Partially Peeled Clementine

The world's most popular tangerine, mostly grown in Spain and North Africa (particularly Morocco), is now planted in California and Florida. Clementines are somewhat flattened in shape, easy to peel and have medium sweet juicy flesh in easy to separate segments. If Clementine trees are pollinated by other citrus varieties yield is greatly increased but the fruit will have seeds. The photo specimens were typically 2-1/2 inches diameter and weighed 3 ounces.

In California mandarins are simply sold loose and unprocessed, except Clementines. These are coated with wax or resin to extend shelf life and packed in bags and boxes sold at a fixed weight (usually 5 pounds) for a fixed price, usually a rather high fixed price. I presume this packaging makes them easier and more profitable to export to the East Coast.

Daisy Mandarin   -   [Citrus reticulata Blanco]
Whole and Partially Peeled Daisy Mandarins

This is considered one of the very best mandarins developed, but it is not heavily planted. The reason is, it has seeds, though not a lot of them. As the seedless watermelon proved conclusively, given the choice between best flavor and a less flavorful seedless version at a higher price, American consumers will select seedless almost every time. A low seed version of Daisy has been developed and effort is under way to develop a seedless version.

These mandarins are a cross between Fortune and Fremont mandarins. Grown in California, they average about 2-7/8 inches diameter and weigh about 5-1/2 ounces each. They peel easily, the segments separate easily, the flesh is sweet and juicy with excellent flavor, and even the peel is quite edible. The photo specimens were purchased from a large multi-ethnic market in Los Angeles for 2016 US $1.49 / pound.

Ellendale Tangor   -   [PLU #3032]
Whole and Partially Peeled Ellendale  Fruit

This Australian variety shows up in California stores in the second half of September. It has a loose easy to peel skin, segments separate easily and it is very sweet and juicy. It does have a moderate number of seeds. The photo specimens were typically 3-5/8 inches diameter and weighed 10-3/4 ounces.

Fairchild Mandarin
Whole and Partiall Peeled Fairchild Fruit

This cross between a Clementine tangerine and an Orlando tangelo is heavily planted in California and Arizona desert regions and is the first variety to ripen in tangerine season (October through January). They are roughly spherical but flattened on the flower end. They have seeds and the thin skin is relatively difficult to peel but hey are quite sweet and have excellent flavor. The photo specimens were typically 2.3 inches in diameter and weighed 3-3/8 ounces.

Fallglo Tangarine   -   [PLU #3144; (tangerine x tengelo) x (tangarine x orange)]
Whole and Partially Peeled Fallglo fruit

This variety, typically grown in Florida, starts to appear in stores in mid October and reaches optimum flavor near the end of November. The tight peel is 1/8 to 3/16 inch thick, very smooth with a distinctive red-orange color. It is moderately easy to peel, particularly if you start from the stem end. The segments are easy to separate. This tangarine is sweet-tart and very juicy, similar to an orange, but with some tangarine flavor. It often, but not always, has a distinct navel, as shown to the right in the photo, and typically has between 20 and 40 seeds. This is a new variety released by the USDA Horticultural Station in 1989. It is thought to be 5/8 tangerine, 1/4 orange and 1/8 grapefruit. The photo specimens, purchased in early October, were typically 2.7 inches in diameter and weighed 5-1/2 ounces, though they can get up to 3-1/8 inches and 7-1/2 ounces, depending on the tree. 2014 US $0.99/#.

Gold Nugget Mandarin   -   [PLU #4055; Citrus reticulata Blanco (Wilking mandarin x Kincy mandarin)]
Whole and Partially Peeled Gold Nugget fruit

This mandarin was developed by the University of California Riverside, and released around 2000. It's season is late February to early June. This seedless mandarin has a loose rind that peels very easily, and segments that separate just as easily. It is juicy, very sweet and of outstanding flavor - judged by professional taste panels to be one of the best flavored citrus in the world. The photo specimens, purchased in Los Angeles in mid March, 2017, were typically 3-1/8 inches in diameter and 2-1/4 inches high, weighing 6-1/2 ounces - 2017 US $0.79 / pound.

Whole and Partially Peeled Kinnow Fruit Developed at the University of California Riverside this is now the most planted mandarin in Pakistan and Punjab, but some are grown in California too. It is smooth skinned, slightly flattened at the ends, and while the skin is much tighter than with most mandarins it is still easily peelable and the segments separate fairly easily. The flesh is orange, seedy, very juicy, aromatic, sweet and richly flavored.

The peel has a fair amount of oil so it's good to use where tangarine peel is needed and it dries well. This is an excellent all-around cooking and eating mandarin. The California crop becomes available in January and runs until April. The photo specimens were about 2-7/8 inches diameter and weighed 5-1/2 ounces.

Minneola Tangelo   -   [#4383; Honeybell Citrus x tangelo]
Whole and Partially Peeled Mineola Fruit

A cross between the Duncan grapefruit and Dancy mandarin, this tangelo presents a hint of the tartness of it's grapefruit parent, especially early in its season. The skin is thin and tight, but it is peelable and segments separate easily. It is juicy with rich flavor and very sweet near the end of its season - mid-December through April. Cross pollination produces higher yields than unpollinated trees but then there will be seeds in the fruit. The largest of the photo specimens was 3-1/8 inches diameter and weighed 8-3/4 ounces. The photo specimens were purchased in Los Angeles in mid-March for 2017 US $0.69 / pound, and were very sweet.

Murcott Mandarin   -   [Honey Tangerine; Citrus reticulata Blanco]
Whole and Partially Peeled Mercotts

Grown in Florida under the "Honey Tangerine" name, it is also grown in California under its real name, Murcott. It's origin is unknown but it's thought to be a cross between a tangerine and a sweet orange, first grown by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) around 1916. This very sweet Tangor is a slightly flattened sphere. The skin is smooth and often loose, peeling very easily to reasonably easily (variable within a batch), and the segments separate very easily. Most will be seedless but others will have a few seeds. The largest in the photo (back right) was 3 inches diameter, 2-1/4 inches high and weighed 5-3/8 ounces. The photo specimens were purchased in Los Angeles in mid March for 2017 US $0.79 / pound.

Orlando Tangelo   -   [PLU #4456]
Whole and Partially Peeled Orlandos

This tangelo is a cross between a Duncan grapefruit and a Dancy mandarin. These will have a few seeds and the skin is tight - peelable but with more difficulty than others in this category. They are available from November through January.

Royal Mandarin   -   [Temple Orange, PLU #4455]
Whole and Partially Peeled Royal Mandarins

These fairly large tangors have a thin, close fitting skin but it peels very easily and the segments separate easily. The skin is slightly pebbled and and slightly depressed at the flower end, flavor is quite sweet, almost spicy, and they have few or no seeds. Found in Jamaica as a naturally occurring tangor, they are grown in Florida and in the warmest inland valleys of California - available from mid January through February. The photo specimens were typically 3 inches in diameter and weighed 7-1/2 ounces.

Satsuma Mandarin   -   [Unshu Mikan (Japan), Wenzhou Migan (China)]
Whole and Partially Peeled Yellow Satsuma Mandarin

This variety was originally found in China but brought to the U.S. from Japan. Most grown in China now are also varieties brought back from Japan. There are many varieties grown in the U.S. but the Owari Satsuma is the most common. They have a very loose skin and are extremely easy to peel but the flesh is easily bruised and the loose skin may conceal damage. These mandarins are juicy with good sweet flavor and ease of peeling makes them particularly desirable so efforts are being made to extend their short season of availability. The photo specimens were typically 2-7/8 inches in diameter and weighed 5.7 ounces. They are available from mid October through December.

Satsuma Mandarin - Green
Whole and Partially Peeled Green Satsuma Mandarin I found these in the market in early October so they're about as early season as mandarins get.They seemed to me a bit less sweet than regular satsumas, but I didn't have the opportunity to do a direct comparison. Same size and shape as the regular satsumas but the skin is definitely less wrinkled.

Shasta Mandarin
Whole and Partially Peeled Shasta Mandarins Now this is just ridiculous - a tangerine that weighs over a pound! That big guy on the left was 1 pound 3-5/8 oz, 3 inches high and 4-5/8 inches in diameter, about the size of a medium navel orange. Even the smallest of the batch (cut open) weighed 10 ounces. Yet they're all a tangerine should be: easy to peel, easy to segment, juicy, very sweet, tasty and seedless. Formerly TDE2 it was released by the University of California as Shasta Gold in 2002. They mature from mid-February to mid-March but hold on the tree well so can be found as late as early May.

Ugli Fruit   -   [Uniq, Citrus reticulata x Citrus paradisi].
Whole Ugli Fruit

A tangelo, a cross between a tangerine and a pomello or grapefruit, found growing wild in Jamaica, where it is now cultivated. This is a large fruit, a little smaller than a grapefruit, and has a rough, blotchy rind, and is at is peak when the green blotches turn mostly orange. The rind is loose and the flesh juicy and sweet, more like a tangerine than a grapefruit. They are in season from December to April when they are exported to the US and Europe. I've never seen one in California, which isn't surprising considering the citrus import restrictions here (designed to protect the huge California citrus industry from imported bugs and diseases).   Photo copyright i0088.

Trifoliate Orange   -   [Japanese Bitter Orange, Hardy Orange, Chinese Bitter Orange; Citrus trifoliata or Poncirus trifoliata]
Bitter Orange on Tree

This large shrub or small tree is native to Korea and northern China. It is a matter of argument as to whether it should be in it's own genus Poncirus, because of it's differences from other citrus. The fruit has a light fuzz, the leaves are in triplets and there are other minor differences. The fruit, up to 1.6 inches diameter, is very bitter, but is made into marmalade and dried and powdered for use as a condiment. This plant has very nasty thorns, and Oklahoma State University has deployed the dwarf "Flying Dragon" cultivar for student-proof hedges.   Photo by BS Thurner Hof distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Unported Attribution Required.

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