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and other small sour citrus types

Sudachi Ichandarin
 Subgenus Papeda
 Primitive citrus types

Ichang papeda  Citrus cavaleriei
Ichang lemon  'Shangyuan'
Sudachi papeda  Citrus sudachi
Yuzu  Citrus junos
Yuko  Citrus yuko

Kabosu papeda  Citrus sphaerocarpa

Khasi papeda  Citrus latipes
Small-flowered papedaCitrus micrantha  'Biasong'
Small-fruited papeda  C. m. var. microcarpa 'Samuyao'

Celebes papeda  Citrus celebica
Alemow Citrus macrophylla

Melanesian papeda Citrus macroptera 
Kalpi papeda Citrus webberii
Kadangsa papeda Citrus halimii

Kaffir lime  Citrus hystrix

Sudachi Ichandarin 
Jorma Koskinen

Subgenus Papeda

Papedas form a subgenus of the genus Citrus. They are a group of acid wild citrus types growing in the monsoon region and parts of Japan and China. Papedas have pulp vesicules with numerous droplets of acrid oil, which makes many of them inedible. The petioles are always large and broadly winged. They are very long, 1,5 - 3 times longer than broad. Melanesian papeda Citrus macroptera can have petioles almost as wide and half of the length of the main leaf. The petioles of the Celebes papeda Citrus celebica can be larger than the blade in fully grown trees.  Ichang papeda Citrus cavaleriei is the most cold-resistant of all the evergreen species in the citrus subfamily. Only the deciduous Trifoliate orange Citrus trifoliata is hardier.

Primitive citrus types
Papedas belong to the oldest and most primitive known citrus types and according to recent studies have contributed their genes to many well-known citrus fruits, most notably the various kinds of limes. Citrus micrantha, the Small-flowered papeda or Biasong, is one of the parents of the common lime (Key lime), Citrus aurantiifolia. (See Introduction, The genus Citrus). The species of the subgenus Papeda have been shown to possess decidedly simpler flowers than the species of the genus Citrus. The Papedas C. micrantha, celebica, macroptera and hystrix have small flowers, 1.2 to 1.7 (rarely 2) cm in diameter. The discovery of a primitive character in the papedas serves to emphasize how very different they are from the true oranges of the genus Citrus.

Some papedas yield fragrant aromatic oil, which can be used in perfumery. Malays, Melanesians and Polynesians have used papeda juice as a hair wash and added it to coconut oil for fragrance. Goldsmiths have used papedas to clean gold objects. Papeda fruit are used in native medicines and Ichang papeda Citrus cavaleriei is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Many papedas occur only in the wild, but the Small-flowered papeda Citrus micrantha is cultivated in the Philippines. Yuzu and Ichang lemon are cultivated in China, Japan and many countries of the Far-East. The leaves and rind of the Kaffir lime a.k.a. Mauritius papeda Citrus hystrix have many food uses and the plant is cultivated in most citrus growing regions around the world.

LAT Citrus cavaleriei  H. Lv. ex Cavalerie  (Bull. Gogr. Bot. 21:112. 1911)  Ichang papeda
Ichang papeda, Citrus inchangensis

Ichang papeda, Citrus inchangensis

Ichang papeda, Citrus inchangensis
Citrus ichangensis
Swingle 1913
Citrus hongheensis Y.Ye, X.Liu, S.Ding & M.Liang 1976
Citrus macrosperma T.C. Guo & Y.M. Ye 1997
Ichang papeda is a slow-growing species of the genus Citrus, which has characteristic lemon-scented foliage and flowers. It is native to East Asia and China's Hubei province.

The Ichang papeda's main claim to fame is its unusual hardiness. With the exception of the Trifoliate orange Citrus trifoliata it is the hardiest citrus plant, tolerating both moderate frost and damp conditions. For this reason, it is perhaps the only species of true citrus which can be reliably grown outside in the temperate areas of Europe and the United States.

It is  a member of the Papeda subgenus of citrus. Other members of the subgenus include the Kaffir Lime  which is used in oriental cuisines. 

This plant, which grows in a wild state in central and southwestern China, is doubtless the most cold-resistant of all the evergreen species in the orange subfamily. It differs greatly from the other species in the subgenus Papeda in having large flowers, and large, very thick seeds. The leaves also differ in having extremely long but rather narrow winged petioles, often exceeding in area the slender, pointed, lanceolate leaf blades. Bottom picture taken by Mike Saalfeld shows Ichang papeda and a clementine leaf.

ENG  Ichang papeda, Ichang lime
FRA  Papeda Ichang,
Photos     UC-Riverside Citrus Collection (3) Home Citrus Growers

LAT Ichang lemon 'Shangyuan' Ichang lemon 'Shangyuan'
Citrus cavaleriei Citrus maxima
Citrus wilsonii
Now considered ♀unknown ♂C. junos

Contrary to common belief the Ichang lemon is not a synonym of the Ichang papeda. It is a hybrid of unknown seed parent (but not Ichang papeda) with yuzu as pollen parent. It is also called Shangyuan and is widely grown and used in China to perfume rooms and cabinets. In the US it has been used for lemon pie and the connoisseurs who have used Shangyuan prefer it to regular lemon pies. It is very resistant to winter cold and the rind oil has a strong flavour. The Chinese name Hsiang Yan means "a fragrant ball." The 7-10 cm fruit are lemon yellow when ripe and often deeply furrowed. Shangyuan forms a small thorny tree and the leaves have large petioles.

ENG Ichang lemon, Ichang pomelo, Shangjuan, Shangyan, Hsiang Yan
FRA Citron Ichang
Photo     Jorma Koskinen


LAT Citrus sudachi  Hort. ex Shirai Sudachi ichandarin, Citrus sudachi
Sudachi ichandarin, Citrus sudachi
Sudachi ichandarin, Citrus sudachi
Citrus cavaleriei Citrus sunki
Now considered ♀unknown ♂C. junos


Citrus sudachi (Sudachi papeda) is a hybrid of unknown seed parent (but not Ichang papeda) with yuzu as pollen parent.

When used for cooking purposes, Sudachi is harvested while still green, which occurs during September to October, and are served in cut halves as a garnish.

Growth is slow, may have dwarfing characteristics. Trees are long-lived. Sudachi is an acid citrus; it bears small fruit (20-25 g) and is traditionally grown in Tokushima Prefecture (Japan).

Wikipedia has a short article on Sudachi.

ENG Sudachi papeda, Sudachi Ichandarin 
FRA  Papeda Sudachi
Photos     Jorma Koskinen


LAT Citrus junos Sieb. ex Tanaka   Yuzu Yuzu, Citrus junos
Yuzu, Citrus junos
Yuzu, Citrus junos
cavaleriei Citrus reticulata var. austera


was earlier classified as a valid species but study has shown it to be an Ichandarin, a hybrid of Ichang papeda (
Citrus cavaleriei)  and Sour mandarin (Citrus sunki).
Recent study showed that this last theory is wrong. The parentage of yuzu has still to be found. Yuzu and ichangensis are very near but not in direct parentage.

The fragrant yuzu lemon orginates from China, but is mostly grown in Japan where both the juice and the grated rind are used in traditional Japanese cooking. The aroma is pungent and the dried peel is used as a spice. The fruit is used in a ritualistic New Year ceremony to ensure good health.
Wikipedia has an article on Yuzy lemon describing its uses in Japanese and Korean cuisines.

ENG  Yuzu, Yuzu ichandrin
FRA  Yuzu
Photos    (1) Jorma Koskinen
(2-3) Laaz

LAT Citrus yuko  Hort. ex Tanaka Yuko, Citrus yuko

Yuko, Citrus yuko

Yuko, Citrus yuko

Yuko, Citrus yuko

is a relatively frost hardy native Japanese citrus recently saved from extinction. 

"It was only recently that the yuko was rediscovered and recognized as an astringent citrus fruit native to Japan. In appearance the fruit resembles the yuzu (Citrus junos) and kabosu (C. sphaerocarpa). When it ripens, the outer rind and flesh turn a bright yellow that calls to mind the lemon. The yuko has many seeds, a sharp but well-rounded flavor, and juicy flesh; the white inner rind is also edible."

"Yuko is used to add flavour to vinegared side dishes and to garnish fish including sardines. Children eat the fruit and drink its juice. The fruit has traditionally been floated in bathtubs for a fragrant bathing experience and used medicinally to treat the common cold and other ailments. Since the strains in use have come from naturally growing trees, rather than managed, cultivated ones, the fruit shows great diversity in the thickness of its rind, its size, and its flavour."

"Beginning in the 1960s, the yuko began disappearing rapidly from the Nagasaki region. There were various reasons for this. First of all, farmers introducing satsuma oranges feared crosspollination would reduce the value of their new crops. Second, mass production of vinegar and other seasonings reduced the need for home-grown citrus fruit. Third, the trees got in the way of farmers' efforts to expand fields for vegetable production. And fourth, the yuko trees grew tall relatively quickly, making it difficult to harvest their fruit."

"As of December 2007, there were a confirmed total of 116 yuko trees standing in the two producing districts, with 52 in Doinokubi and 64 in Sotome. It is hard to get accurate numbers for fruit yield per tree, but hearings carried out in the two districts indicate that each tree produces upwards of 500 yuko per season on average. Residents in both areas begin harvesting the fruit around September, when the skin is still green, for use in place of vinegar. In November the fruit takes on its yellow colour and is harvested and eaten fresh. Some yuko can score as high as 12 degrees on the Brix scale of sugar content, making them some of the sweetest astringent citrus fruit anywhere. The species is characterized by a particularly long harvest season, lasting from September through March. No pesticide is applied to the trees, so people can take bites through the rind and use the entire fruit, rind and all, without concern."

The above excerpts are from an article "The Yuko, a Native Japanese Citrus" written by Yoko Kurokawa, published by The Tokyo Foundation and reproduced here by permission.

ENG Yuko
Photos    (1) Gene Lester
(2-4) Kazuo Kikuchi


LAT Citrus sphaerocarpa Hort. ex Tanaka Kabosu papeda, Citrus sphaerocarpa
Kabosu papeda, Citrus sphaerocarpa
Kabosu leaves


Kabosu papeda was believed to be a hybrid of papeda and sour orange.
Recent study showed that this last theory is wrong. The parentage of kabosu is now considered a cross of Kunenbo and yuzu: ♀C.nobilis (kunenbo var.Bendiguangju) ♂C. junos.

It grows in China and is popular in Japan.   

Kabosu is grown primarily as an ornamental in Japan and the fruits are used for decorative purposes and in the preparation of marmalade and vinegar.

In the Oita prefecture and particularly in Taketa and Usuki the fruit is highly valued. For culinary purposes Kabosu is harvested when still green. Kabosu is used for flavouring drinking water and local alcoholic products. It is used in raw fish dishes, with roasted fish, chilled tofu, sashimi, tempura and all kinds of noodles. It gives flavour to soups, particularly miso and dumpling soup. It is excellent for flavouring mayonnaise and cabbage salad.

Kabosu juice and whole fruit are considered a delicacy but they are often expensive outside the prefecture of Oita.


ENG  Kabosu papeda
FRA  Papeda Kabosu
Photos     UC-Riverside Citrus Collection
(3) Gene Lester

LAT Citrus latipes  (Swingle) Tanaka Khasi papeda, Citrus latipes
Khasi papeda, Citrus latipes
Khasi papeda, Citrus latipes
   Khasi papeda comes from Northeastern India: Khasi Hills; northern Burma, and grows in the mountains at considerable elevation, 500-1,830 m (1,640 - 6,000 ft). Citrus latipes is a thorny tree similar to C. ichangensis but having leaf blades more variable in size and shape and with the tips subacute or even bluntly rounded, not apiculate or subcaudate with blunt points as in C. ichangensis.

The flowers, instead of being borne singly in the axils of the leaves as in Citrus cavaleriei are sometimes borne in small axillary racemes with 5-7 flowers and are much smaller. The fruits are borne singly and resemble those of C. ichangensis except for having a thicker peel, of which the inner layer is chalky white just below the outer green layer. The seeds are also smaller and more numerous than those of C. ichangensis and are arranged 5-7 in each segment.

Notes taken at UC-Riverside Citrus Variety Collection together with the adjoining photos on 11/29/2007: Large fruit, flattish, looks like a pummelo. Bears in a grapefruit-like cluster. Double leaves, winged petiole. Large, lush tree. Fruits greenish yellow when visited, starting to turn. Moderately thick, grapefruit-like skin. Fairly juicy, not bad taste at first, then unpleasant aftertaste.

ENG Khasi papeda, Kagzi seedless lime, Som Lawo
FRA Papeda Khasi
Photos    Saga Univ. Dept of Agriculture
(2)  UC-Riverside CVC 

LAT Citrus micrantha Wester Biasong, Citrus micrantha
Biasong, Citrus micrantha

Citrus marcoptera var. micrantha Wester

The Small-flowered papeda
Citus micrantha is one of the four ancestral taxa (Citrus reticulata Blanco, mandarins; C. maxima (Burm.) Merr., pummelos; C. medica L., citrons; C. micrantha Wester, papedas) which are the ancestors of all cultivated Citrus.
The Small-flowered papeda (Biasong) stands out from all others of the subgenus Papeda because of its very small flowers, only 1.2-1.3 cm wide, white, with a trace of purple on the outside. The fruits are  5-7 cm long; surface fairly smooth or with transverse corrugations, lemon yellow; skin comparatively thick; pulp rather juicy, grayish, acid; aroma similar to that of samuyao; Seeds are numerous. The leaves have broadly ovate blades, blunt-pointed at both ends, 3.5-6 cm long, 2.7-4 cm wide with petioles 3,5 to 6 cm long, broadly winged, up to 4 cm wide; wing area sometimes exceeding leaf area. Seeds are numerous. The tree attains a height of 7.5 to 9 meters, with comparatively small but sharp spines. 
This species is cultivated in the southern Philippine Islands, especially Mindanao, where it is called biasong. The fruit was generally thought of as being inedible, but Ponchit Enrile from the Aseya Bistro in Davao City told me that it is a favourite flavouring for kinilaw (raw fish or seafood marinated with vinegar and limes) and Tom Yum Kung. The fruit can be bought in wet markets all over Mindanao and fetches high prices when not in season. When in season it would sell for 10 US cents a piece.

Patrick Gozon's blog has an article on his search for the Biasong in Davao.

ENG Biasong papeda, Small-flowered papeda,
Photos    Patrick Gozon

LAT Citrus micrantha var. microcarpa  Wester Samuyao, Citrus micrantha var. microcarpa
Samuyao, Citrus micrantha var. microcarpa
Citrus westeri Tanaka

The Small-fruited papeda, Samuyao, has the smallest fruit and the smallest flowers of any True Citrus Fruit Tree known but has more segments in the fruit (seven to nine) than Citrus micrantha (six to eight), although the fruits of the latter are much larger, 5 to 7 by 3 to 4 cm, instead of 1.5 to 2 cm, as in the variety microcarpa.

Samuyao, endemic in Cebu and Bohol, is a shrubby tree, 4.5 meters tall, with slender branches and small, weak spines; leaves 55 to 80 millimeters long, 20 to 25 millimeters broad, thin, of distinct fragrance. Flowers 2 to 7, small, 5 to 9 millimeters in diameter, white, with trace of purple on the outside. Fruit 15 to 20 millimeters in diameter, roundish in outline; base sometimes nippled; apex an irregular, wrinkly cavity. Surface corrugate, greenish lemon yellow; oil cells usually sunken; skin very thin; pulp fairly juicy, acid, bitter with distinct aroma; juice cells very minute, blunt, containing a small greenish nucleus; seeds small, flattened, sometimes beaked.

The fruits are not eaten but were used by goldsmiths to clean gold objects. They also enter into native medicines. The crushed fruits are used by the women of Cebu for cleansing the hair and are added to coconut oil to give it fragrance when applied to the hair. The tree bears within five years from planting and produces fruits during the entire year, but more abundantly during the rainy season. 

Patrick Gozon's blog has interesting entries on his search for the elusive Samuyao in Cebu.

ENG Samuyao papeda, Small-fruited papeda
Photos    Patrick Gozon

LAT Citrus celebica  Koord.  Celebes papeda
Celebes papeda
Celebes papeda
Citrus celebica

Description from The Citrus Industry, vol. II, chapter 3.

Distribution: Northeastern Celebes, southern Philippines.
Common name: Celebes papeda.
Leaves with small, lanceolate, subcrenulate blades, 4.5-5.5 2.5-3.5 cm; winged petioles oblanceolate, with a subcordate or slightly curved upper end and gradually rounded sides tapering into a deltoid base, having from 5-10 mm of the petiole almost wingless; margins faintly crenulate; flowers occurring in 3- to many-flowered spikes or small cymoid clusters in the axils of the leaves; flowers medium-sized, 15-17 mm when open, 4-5-merous; ovary reversed-pyriform, tapering sharply below, broadly rounded at the tip with many (17-20) locules; style short, 5-6 mm; stamens short, free; fruits large (10 cm diam.), globose, with a very thick peel (about 3 cm); seeds small, probably monoembryonic.
A small tree 5 m high, growing in a wild state in primeval forests at Karowa, in extreme northeastern Celebes (Minahasa); fruits inedible.
The Celebes papeda is called  Sai li bi cheng or  Xi li bai cheng in Chinese and Serebesu papeda in Japanese


ENG Celebes papeda
Photos    (1) Jorma Koskinen
(2-3) Gene Lester


LAT Citrus macrophylla  Wester  Alemow Alemow, Citrus macrophylla
Alemow, Citrus macrophylla
Alemow, Citrus macrophylla
Alemow, Citrus macrophylla
cavaleriei x Citrus maxima

Alemow is a hybrid of Celebes papeda (Citrus celebica) with a species of the subgenus Citrus, probably a pomelo (Citrus maxima). It has been tried as a rootstock for lemons in California. See more on its use as rootstock.

This hybrid, named C. macrophylla by Wester is sometimes cultivated in Cebu, Philippine Islands. It has large leaves, with the blades 12 to 14 cm long and 6 to 8 cm wide, with much smaller, subtriangular, short-winged petioles, measuring up to 3.5 cm wide near the top.  The fruits are very large, 8.5 to 10 cm in diameter, subglobose to oblong, more or less narrowed at the base, with a rough, transversely-corrugated, but rather thin skin. The fruit has 13 to 16 segments and rather dry, sour pulp, considered inedible even by the natives.

ENG Alemow papeda
Photos    Gene Lester


LAT Citrus macroptera Montr.  Melanesian papeda
Melanesian papeda, Citrus macroptera
Melanesian papeda, Citrus macroptera
Melanesian papeda, Citrus macroptera
Citrus papuana F.M. Bail.
Citrus aurantium
ssp. saponacea Safford

Melanesian papeda was discovered by Father Montrouzier on the Island of Art, situated a few miles to the northwest of the north end of New Caledonia. It was a tree 15-16 feet (4.5-5 m) high, growing near the houses of the natives.  It flowers in September, and is commonly called don gan

This species is characterized by large leaves, sometimes 10 or 12 inches long (including the very large winged petiole) and 2 inches wide; it has subglobose fruits the size and shape of an orange, but with very little juice.

This species grows wild in Thailand, Indo-China, Philippines, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa, Guam, and many other of the Polynesian islands, probably being carried by the Polynesians for use in washing.  The juice and fruit pulp of the Melanesian papeda has been used in Guam not only for washing the hair, but also as a substitute for soap in washing clothing.The macerated leaves form a lather when water is added.

ENG Melanesian papeda
Photos    Saga Univ. Dept of Agriculture
(2) Jorma Koskinen
(3) Gene Lester


LAT Citrus webberii  Wester  Kalpi papeda Kalpi papeda, Citrus webberii
Kalpi papeda, Citrus webberii
Kalpi papeda, Citrus webberii
Kalpi papeda, Citrus webberii


Kalpi papeda
is a mandarin-like citrus fruit tree which was named C. webberii by Wester in honor of his former chief, H. J. Webber. It is called kalpi in the Bicolano dialect. Kalpi is a medium-sized, handsome tree 5 to 10 meters tall, bearing very juicy, acid fruits that can be used like lemons.It grows in both the large islands of the Philippines, Luzon and Mindanao.

The fruit is variable in size, depressed-globose, with 9 to 11 segments; skin very thin, yellowish when ripe.  It seems to be a hybrid of the native Citrus  macroptera with the common Philippine mandarin, much like Yuzu.

ENG Webber's Philippine hybrid, Alsem, Nogapog
FRA Papeda Kalpi
Photos    (1-2) Jorma Koskinen
(3-4) Gene Lester


LAT Citrus halimii  Stone (1973)  Kadangsa papeda Kadangsa papeda, Citrus halimii

Kadangsa papeda, Citrus halimii

Kadangsa papeda, Citrus halimii

   The Kadangsa papeda remains one of the most elusive citrus trees. It has only been discovered in a handful of locations in Malaysia, Thailand and on some Indonesian islands. It has been very poorly studied, partly because it is so difficult to find.    

According to the Thailand Office of the Forest Herbarium Citrus halimii is a
"medium sized tree to 25 m tall, 60 cm diameter; young branches in sapling spiny.  Leaves unifoliolate, elliptic or slightly ovate, 8-15 x 3.5-7.5 cm; apex acute to shortly acuminate and emarginate; margin subcrenulate; secondary veins 7-11 pairs; petioles 1-2 cm long, narrowly winged or wingless.  Inflorescences solitary, Flowers 5-merous; pedicels 1-3.5 mm long; petals white, fragrant; stamens 18-20; ovary (6-)9-10 carpellate, ovules 1-3(-5) per locule; style columnar; stigma flat.  Fruits subglobose to slightly pyriform, 5-7 cm in diameter, green, turning deep yellow when ripe, smooth or bumpy; pericarp ca 6 mm thick; pulp-vesicles pale greenish to yellowish, juicy. Seeds numerous, to ca 2 cm long."
Distribution: Scattered in Malay Peninsula, Borneo, and Peninsular Thailand. In Thailand recorded from Nakhon Si Thammarat and Yala (Than To, Betong). Restricted on hillsides and mountain ridges, evergreen forest; 900-1800 m.
Uses:  Fruits are edible.

However, according to the Wikipedia, which quotes the above description as its source:
"Citrus halimii is a midsized evergreen tree, with a mature height of 20 to 25 feet; it is somewhat less thorny than other citrus. Like other members of the papeda sub-group, the halimii has relatively large leaves, with a long, winged petiole.
The fruits of C. halimii are edible, but sour. They are round and small, measuring about 5–7 cm in diameter. The rather thick rind eventually ripens to yellow or orange-yellow; internally the rind is tightly bound to the flesh. The yellow-green segments are filled with a number of large seeds, and a small quantity of juice."

Locally Citrus halimii is known as limau kandangsa, limau kedut kera and its Thai name is Som chit tai (ส้มจี๊ดใต้).

JK 04.08.2014

ENG Kadangsa papeda
FRA Cedrat Mountain
Photo    C. Jacquemond / INRA


Page updated 04 March 2021

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