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Sour oranges
Citrus aurantium

'Bouquet de fleurs' sour orange

 Orange names
 Classification of sour oranges

 Sour oranges:

Sour orange hybrids:
Smooth Flat Seville
Kikudaidai  Citrus canaliculata

Yama  Citrus intermedia
Karna  Citrus karna
Kithcli  Citrus maderaspatana
Miaray  Citrus miaray
Natsumikan  Citrus natsudaidai
Tosu  Citrus neoaurantium
Zadaidai  Citrus rokugatsu
Sanbokan  Citrus sulcata
Nanshodaidai  Citrus taiwanica

'Bouquet de fleurs' sour oranges
© Jorma Koskinen

The sour orange is thought to have originated in the north-eastern parts of India and the neighbouring south-western parts of China and northern Burma. Its cultivation spread slowly westward and reached the Near East at the beginning of the Christian era. The history of the introduction of the sour orange to Europe is very interesting because it consists of two separate stories and strains, a fact which is usually misunderstood.

Arabs had conquered the southern part of Spain by 711 and called it Al-Andalus. They reigned various parts of it until 1492. Arab architects designed beautiful mosques, the most famous of which is the Mesquita in Cordoba. The building was completed in 987 when the famous Patio de los naranjos, the courtyard of oranges also took its final form. The Caliphs of Cordoba were very fond of sour orange trees and ordered them to be planted in the most prominent public spaces in the most important towns of Al-Andalus.

This strain of sour orange brought to Spain by Arabs through Northern Africa at the end of the first millenium became the type we today know as the Seville orange, which later became the standard form of sour orange (see Sevillano below). The largest plantations of it still exist around the town of Seville. Arab conquerors also brought the sour orange to the eastern Mediterranean area and the island of Sicily where it is known to have grown in 1002 A.D. 

The story of the sour orange being brought back by crusaders returning from the Holy Land in the 12th and 13th centuries is also true but of another variety completely. The crusaders brought the Bittersweet orange to the northern Mediterranean countries from where it travelled to Versailles and farther to America (see Bittersweet below). All through the Middle Ages in central and southern Europe citron and sour orange were the only known citrus fruit. Sour orange was considered an important medicinal plant. The fruit was used as a condiment to hide the unpleasant flavour of salted meat and fish (the only known form of preserving). It was also used as a spice and to make marmalade. The flowers were used as a scent. The sweet orange came to Europe during the 15th century and because it could be eaten fresh, it slowly displaced the sour orange.  
Zadaidai sour orange, Citrus rokugatsu
Sour orange
'Leatherhead' sour orange
A sour orange from Afghanistan
A sour orange from Afghanistan
A sour orange from Afghanistan
Sour oranges are usually not eaten fresh. Their importance lies in the oil that can be extracted from the flowers, leaves, seeds and rind. This oil gives its typical orange-like flavour to spices, sweets, liqueurs etc. Some varieties of sour orange impart their aroma to expensive perfumes, soaps and after-shaves. The oils from sour oranges are used in aromatherapy and many health products. The dried flowers and buds as well as some oils are used in blendings of fine tea. The whole fruit is used to make the orange marmalade the British prefer.

Certain sour oranges are caramelized whole and eaten as a dessert. The main constituent in the aroma of many soft drinks is sour orange. More detailed information on uses can be found in the description of each variety.  In addition to the many food uses what really makes the sour orange important for the whole citrus industry is its suitability for being used as rootstock. Being resistant to many plant diseases and compatible with the majority of commercial citrus types makes it invaluable. 

A friend from a horticultural project in Afghanistan informed me that sour oranges are popular there at meal times. Many people prefer them to lemons and limes and sour orange juice is squeezed on food the same way lemon is used in the Mediterranean. The zest is used to flavour rice. The vesicle segments without seeds and membranes are also eaten fresh. The variety of this sour orange is not known to him but he sent pictures of the tree and fruit and of a meal where it is used. From the pictures it can clearly be seen that it is a sour orange, maybe a bittersweet orange. Pictures on the left by © Muhammad Aziz

The taste of sour orange varieties and hybrids differ more from each other than is usual in other citrus types. The taste of a standard sour orange is unpalatable to most people and only good for making marmalade. Various sour orange hybrids are too acrid even for marmalade. However, several sour oranges have quite a bit of sugar and some are subacid, which makes them suitable for various food uses. See the descriptions of the individual varieties below. Quite often the taste of orange in food products comes from the sour orange. When sweet oranges are cooked they lose their flavour, especially the juice. Marmalade made of sweet oranges only does not have a strong taste of orange, surprisingly enough. The same is true of sweets, chocolates and liqueurs. But when a few drops of the essence of sour orange is added a strong taste of orange emerges. The alcohol products marketed as orange liqueurs are all made of sour orange. Several varieties are planted for ornamental purposes because of their thick and beautiful foliage as well as their plentiful fruit, which remain on the  trees for most of the year. Visiting Spain and other Mediterranean countries one may have thought it peculiar that so many beautiful orange trees full of fruit line the promenades and boulevards. Picking a fruit to taste it one may have been disappointed to find it inedible. Most likely it was one of the several varieties of sour orange. 'Bouquet de Fleurs' sour orange
'Corniculata' sour orange
Variegated sour orange

More than 80 cultivated varieties of sour orange are known. About twenty are of commercial importance. Sour oranges are divided into four main groups. The varieties described below are mentioned after each group: 
1.  Common sour oranges:   Standard sour orange and Sevillano
2.  Bittersweet oranges:         Bittersweet and Paraguay
3.  Ornamental varieties:        Bouquetier, Myrtle leaf, Variegated, Abers Narrow Leaf, Willowleaf
4.  Variants and hybrids :       Leather-head, Tosu, Bergamot, Natsumikan, Nanshodaidai

Orange names
Sour orange
'Bouquet de Fleurs' sour orange
This page describes the sour orange, Citrus × aurantium, which is a citrus type of its own. In culinary uses and recipes it is more often called Seville orange. The sweet orange (Citrus × sinensis) is described here.

Recent study using the latest technology has confirmed that these two kinds of citrus  are two separate citrus types in spite of their deceivingly similar appearance. One is not a mutation or variety of the other. In early citrus classifications sweet orange was often considered a mutation of the sour orange. This has proven not to be the case.

They most likely arose one after the other from the same parentage (as a pomelo × mandarin hybrid, see Citrus classification) but each containing a different genetic structure manifesting different traits. The sweet orange inherited more characteristics of mandarin and the sour orange has more genes from the pomelo. It is also quite likely that both parents had already mutated a little having slightly different characteristics, the result of which was a new kind of hybrid.

Botanical names of sour oranges
In accordance with the 1996 Tokyo code of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature where it says: "For any taxon from family to genus inclusive, the correct name is the earliest legitimate one" the botanical names on this Sour Orange page have been changed to Citrus × aurantium L. of Carolus Linnaeus from 1753. The most common later classifications are given as synonyms. See: Citrus Classification

 LAT Citrus × aurantium  L. Sour orange, Citrus aurantium

Sour orange flowers

Sour orange, Citrus aurantium

Sour orange

Sour orange, Citrus aurantium

Sour orange juice and cut fruit
Citrus aurantium var. amara  Engl.

Sour orange, Common sour orange or Standard sour orange, also known as bitter orange and in food contexts as Seville orange
, very much resembles the sweet orange. The rind is usually much thicker, rough on the surface and hard to peel. The sour orange is seldom very juicy and often has many seeds. When fully ripe the core at the centre of the segments becomes hollow.

An important part of the world production is sold to England, Scotland and South Africa where it is made into marmalade. The orange marmalade preferred by the British is made out of sour oranges only and a marmalade made from sweet oranges is not acceptable. Some sour oranges are often added to regular sweet orange marmalade to improve its flavour. The dried peel of sour orange is used as a spice in baking and confectioneries.

The flower of the sour orange 
is the source of Neroli oil (produced by steam distillation) and Neroli absolute (produced by solvent extraction). The flowers yield nectar for honey bees. Neroli petitgrain oil is made from leaves and twigs by steam distillation. Neroli bigarade oil is made from the peel of nearly ripe fruit by cold expression. These oils are widely used in perfumery and cosmetics, and as a flavouring agent in foods, alcoholic and soft drinks. They are also used in aromatherapy. For more information see citrus oils, bittersweet orange and perfumery varieties. Genuine orange flower-water is a by-product of the steam distillation of oils.

The thick peel of certain types of sour orange, especially 'Jacmel' in Jamaica, is cut into segments, which are dried in the sun. They are then soaked in pure alcohol in a process called maceration. Later this mixture is distilled and the clear liquid obtained is used for flavouring citrus liqueurs such as Grand Marnier and Cointreau. The dried peel of a sour orange variety from the island of Curaçao is used in the making of citrus liqueurs Curaçao and Triple sec. The peel and seeds also have medicinal uses and are used in making soap. 

All parts of the sour orange can be used. It adapts easily to varying conditions and survives with little or no care. It can stand several degrees of frost for short periods. In proper conditions the tree can attain exceptional longevity. Some trees in Spain are said to be over 600 years old.

Some cultivated varieties with their country of origin:
Algeria: Algerian, Trabout
Brazil: Azeda, Brazilian, Jaboticaba, Viradouro
China: Gou Tou, Huahong, Vermilion globe, Xiaohong Cheng
Corsica: Cardosi, Filippi, Luisi, Santucci
Cuba: Cajel, Cuban
France: De Grasse, Donnet, Menton
Italy: Bizzarrio, Gallesio, Palermo, Sicilian
Jamaica: Jacmel
Japan: Du Japon, Konejime, Shuto, Variegated
Morocco: Maroc
Paraguay: Paraguay
Spain: Bouquetier de Nice à fleurs doubles, Espagne, Sevillano (Seville)
Tunisia: Alibert, Petit Pierre, Tunisian
United States: California, Carson, Florida, Fraser, Granitos, Hawaii, Merrits, Nahala, Oklawaha, Olivelands, Rubidoux, Sespe, Standard, Texas
Curaçao: Curaçao, Laraha
Vietnam: Commune, De My Tho

 ENG Sour orange, Common sour orange, Seville orange, Bitter orange
 FRA Orange amère (fruit), Oranger à fruits amers (tree)
 GER Bittere Orange, Pomeranze
 I TA Arancia amara, Melangolo
 SPA Naranja ácida, naranja agria (fruit), naranjo amargo (tree)
Photos   (1,3,5) © Jorma Koskinen
(2,4)  © J.-M. Bossennec / INRA
(6) © C. Jacquemond / INRA


 LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Sevillano'

'Sevillano' Sour orange

'Sevillano' Sour orange
 Syn Citrus × aurantium 'Real'
Citrus × aurantium 'Agrio de España'
'Sevillano' is the sour orange variety grown in southern Spain in and around the city of Seville.
Unlike the 'Bittersweet' (see below) this variety was brought directly to Spain by Arab conquerors in the 10th century from northern Africa via Morocco. This was the original Seville orange and later became known as the standard sour orange. The variety is also known by its Spanish name Real (royal), Agrio de España (Spanish sour). The tree is attractive, large, vigorous, productive and cold tolerant. It has very few or no thorns. The fruit is seedy, bitter, and acidic, medium size, round, with a slightly depressed apex and a pebbled dark orange rind.

This is the principal marmalade variety. It is exported chiefly to England and Scotland for orange marmalade production. The typical bitterness combined with its sour orange characteristics make it an ideal variety for this. The Spanish production area in 2006 was 1120 hectares (2770 acres) and the production around 17 000 metric tons.
 ENG Seville orange, Common sour orange, Common bitter orange
 FRA Bigarade sans épine, Bigarade d'Espagne
(1) © C. Jacquemond / INRA
© UCR Citrus Variety Collection


LAT Citrus × aurantium ' Bittersweet group'
'Bittersweet' sour orange

Dummet Bittersweet of Florida
Dummet Bittersweet of Florida

Paraguay Bittersweet

Citrus aurantium var. bigaradia, bittersweet orange
Citrus aurantium var. bigaradia  Hook f.  
Citrus bigaradia  Risso & Poit.
Citrus bigarradia  Loisel.


The Bittersweet orange came from the Near East to Europe with the returning crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries. The tree is known to have been commercially grown in the Nice area from the year 1322 (as opposed to the 'Sevillano' above). This is the sour orange that first reached Paris and Versailles and became the favourite of kings and aristocrats or anyone who could afford to build the special greenhouses
called orangerie that were needed for growing them.

This was also the first orange to reach the New World with the second voyage of Columbus (1493). It quickly established itself in suitable surroundings like Florida and Paraguay, where the largest cultivated areas still are and where it soon started to grow wild. The tree is large and thorny, the fruit medium size, globose and with a smoother rind texture than the common sour orange. The rind is medium thick and seeds are numerous. The taste is sweet but bitter at the same time. The distinguishing feature is the relative lack of acidity, which makes these varieties almost palatable to some. The two main varieties Bittersweet and Paraguay (Apepu) have acquired slightly different characteristics: Bittersweet has more sugar whereas Paraguay is subacid and therefore sometimes actually tastes sweeter.

In its cultivation area the bittersweet orange is used for making marmalade. In the Caribbean islands dried peel is used to aromatize citrus liqueurs. The juice is also used for marinades. The mojo of Cuba is a marinade of half sour orange juice and half oil, spiced with garlic and onions. The leaves and twigs of the bittersweet orange are used to make petitgrain (Paraguay) oil by steam distillation. The peel of the immature fruit is used to obtain bigarade oil by cold expression. These oils are not as highly esteemed as Neroli petitgrain or Neroli bigarade from the common sour orange, but they are largely used in perfumery and in aromatherapy. The most important producer of these is still Paraguay. For more information see citrus oils.

Cultivated varieties: Orlando, Dummet, Bittersweet of Florida and Paraguay (Apepu).

ENG Bittersweet orange, Paraguayan Bigarade  
FRA Bigarade Paraguay, Bigarade Apepu
Photos  (1) © Gene Lester
© UCR Citrus Variety Collection

(4) © C. Jacquemond / INRA


 LAT Citrus × aurantium ’Bouquetier group’ 'Bouquet de Fleurs' sour orange
'Bouquet de Fleurs' sour orange
'Bouquet de Fleurs' sour orange
'Bouquet de Fleurs' sour orange
'Bouquet de fleurs'

Bouquetier de Nice à fleurs doubles
'Bouquetier de Nice à fleurs doubles'
    Cultivated varieties:
Citrus × aurantium ’Bouquet’
Citrus × aurantium ‘Bouquetier à Grandes Fleurs’
Citrus × aurantium ‘Bouquetier de Nice à Fleurs Doubles’ 
In Algeria: 'Bouquetier à fruits mous'
There is some confusion about these perfumery varieties. On the French Riviera and around the town of Grasse as well as in Algeria and Tunisia several sour orange varieties are grown solely for their flowers, which yield a superior quality of Neroli oil that is used in perfumery and aromatherapy.

The trees are small, some even dwarfish, and the small fruit are often  discarded, although they can be used for making petitgrain and bigarade oils. The flowers of these varieties differ. The flowers of the most highly prized varieties are doubled. The bottom picture shows one of the most valued varieties called the Double-flowered Bouquetier of Nice. The oil obtained from these varieties is more expensive than gold.

Bouquet (Bouquet des fleurs) has small, oval leaves and dense clustered foliage. The fruits are small, moderately pebbled and well-coloured.
Bouquetier à grandes fleurs is the most important perfumery variety. It has very large, simple flowers and large round fruits with very thick rinds. The tree is small and spineless. The fruit makes excellent confections.
Bouquetier de Nice à fleurs doubles has doubled flowers, which develop into double fruits that have a secondary fruit inside the primary. The leaves are very large and broad.

The word bouquetier means either a small narrow vase for holding nosegays or a flower-seller, the feminine form bouquetière means a flower-girl. Bouquet is a bunch of flowers, among other things. There are several named cultivars, see above. For more information on the oils, see citrus oils.

 ENG Bitter orange perfumery varieties
 FRA Bigarade bouquet (Bouquet de fleurs, Bigarade riche dépouille)
Bigarade bouquetier à grandes fleurs  (à peau épaisse)
Bigarade bouquetier de Nice à fleurs doubles (bouquetier à fruits plats)
(1-2) © Jorma Koskinen
(3-4) © Gene Lester

(5) © Home Citrus Growers

LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Variegated' Variegated sour orange
Variegated sour orange
Variegated sour orange
Citrus × aurantium 'Panaché'
Citrus × aurantium 'Foliis variegatis'

Variegated sour orange has several forms or clones that differ in the degree of variegation. In some trees the variegation only occurs in the leaves; in  all leaves in some clones and only in part of the leaves in others.

In certain strains only the fruit is variegated but the leaves are not or only partly. Variegated fruit fall into two types: those that are variegated only when immature and those that retain the variegation of the peel colouring also in maturity. A famous example of this kind is 'Virgatum', the Swiss orange, so called because the stripes of the ripe orange resemble the striped trousers of the Swiss Guard at the Vatican.  It is rare to find a tree where the fruit and all the leaves are variegated.

Variegated forms of sour oranges were reported already in the gardens of 16th century Italian palaces.

in 1714 and Gallesio in 1839 drew and described a sour orange tree with variegated leaves and fruit.

Variegated varieties grow true from seed.

ENG Variegated sour orange
FRA Bigarade panachée
Photo     © Jorma Koskinen

 LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Corniculata '  Horned sour orange 'Corniculata' sour orange
'Corniculata' sour orange
'Corniculata' sour orange
  Syn  Citrus × aurantium  'Cornuto', 'Corniculé', 'De Grasse', 'Horned'

The Horned sour orange 'Corniculata' is an old ornamental form of sour orange that was already known to Volkamer as Aranzo Cornuto in his Hesperides from 1708.  This variety can sometimes grow digit-like curved extremities that look like small horns. The formation is similar to the way the Fingered citron (Buddha's hand) grows its "fingers". In their famous book
Histoire Naturelle des Orangers published in 1818 Risso and Poiteau described and illustrated this variety as Bigaradier à fruit corniculé, the "sour orange with horned fruit" and in Italian it was called Melangolo a frutto cornuto. This variety was thought to have been lost until a clone of it was found near the town of Grasse in southern France. This variety is now called 'De Grasse'.

The tree has a low bushy form of growing and is usually wider than it is tall.

 ENG Horned sour orange
FRA Bigarade corniculée
Photos   © Jorma Koskinen


LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Abers Narrow Leaf' Abers Narrow Leaf sour orange
Abers Narrow Leaf sour orange

Abers Narrow Leaf
is an extremely narrow-leaved form of sour orange The tree is small and drooping in habit and the fruit is typical of bitter orange except that the calyx is fleshy. The presumption is that Abers Narrow Leaf originated in Florida, where it received its name, though it may have been an introduction.  

In appearance it somewhat resembles the Granito and the Willowleaf  variety, but is not identical with either one.

Abers is much used for the extraction of essential oil from its leaves.

ENG Abers Narrow Leaf sour orange
Photo     © Gene Lester

LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Willowleaf' Willowleaf sour orange

Willowleaf sour orange
Citrus × aurantium var. salicifolia

In their famous treatise of 1818 Risso and Poiteau published a picture and a description of a
Bigaradier à feuilles de saule, a sour orange with willow-like narrow leaves. This variety is reported to have originated in 18th century Italy.

Willowleaf is an ornamental sour orange. The tree is moderately dwarfed, of highly symmetrical round-topped form, with dense compact foliage consisting of small, narrow, sharp-pointed, yellowish-green leaves. Fruit is small, round to pyriform, yellowish orange and about one third to half of normal sour orange size. Rind thick and rough. Pulp yellow, sour; few seeds. The juice is very acid and somewhat bitter.

Only one clone of Willowleaf has been noted in California and its origin and history are unknown, although it is believed to have been introduced under the botanical variety name salicifolia.  It is markedly different from Abers which has sometimes been called Willowleaf.

Willowleaf forms grow true from seed.

ENG Willowleaf sour orange
Photo     © UCR Citrus Variety Collection

LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Gou Tou'
'Leatherhead' sour orange
'Leatherhead' sour orange
Leather head sour orange, Citrus aurantium var. gou tou
Citrus × aurantium var. gou tou
Citrus × aurantium var. gao tao
Citrus × aurantium var. goutoucheng
Citrus × aurantium var. pi-tou-chêng

The Leather-head sour orange is one of the most common varieties in China and south-east Asia. The Leather-head is used as root stock for other citrus varieties, especially sweet orange and mandarins, because of its better resistance to several diseases. The fruit are smallish, oblate, slightly depressed at both ends
with many seeds and medium thick rind. The colour is yellowish and resembles that of grapefruit. The taste is acid with lime overtones



ENG Leather-head sour orange, Goutoucheng sour orange, Pi-tou-chêng sour orange
FRA Bigarade Gou Tou
Photo   (1-2) © Jorma Koskinen
(3) © C. Jacquemond / INRA


LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Chinotto Group'
Myrtle-leaved orange, Citrus aurantium var myrtifolia,
'Chinois à grandes feuilles'



Citrus bigaradia
Risso & Poit.
var. chinensis
Citrus myrtifolia  Raf.
Citrus aurantium var. myrtifolia  Ker-Gawl.

Myrtle-leaved orange gets its name from the myrtle (Myrtus communis) because its leaves resemble those of the myrtle. The leaves grow densely and the fruit hang on the tree for most of the year, which makes it an attractive ornamental plant. The myrtle-leaved orange
is grown on the Mediterranean coast of France and in Italy as well as in the citrus zones of the US. The French call it chinois (Chinese). The tree was introduced from China. The Americans call it by its Italian name chinotto.

There is an Italian home page for "chinottofiles", friends of the chinotto. The Chinotto homepage tells you everything  you want to know about this tree, and more. Surprisingly it lists dozens of different kinds of soft drinks and beverages made of chinotto. Presumably most of these are only available in Italy, the promised land of chinotto enthusiasts. The fruit are too sour to be eaten fresh but they are candied whole and eaten as a luxury dessert.

Four main varieties of chinotto are grown:

Italy France  
Chinotto buxifolia Chinois à feuilles de buis Boxwood-leaved chinotto
Chinotto crispifolia   Crinkle-leaved chinotto
Chinotto grande Chinois à grandes feuilles Large chinotto
Chinotto piccolo Chinois à petites feuilles Dwarf chinotto
ENG Chinotto, Myrtle-leaved orange, 
Chinotto orange, Myrtle leaf orange (US)
FRA Orange à feuilles de myrte, Bigaradier chinois
GER Myrtenblättrige Bitterorange
I TA Chinotto, Arancio a foglia mirtella
SPA Naranja mirtifolia
(1) © C. Jacquemond / INRA
(2-3) ©  Jorma Koskinen
(4) © Catherine Foucaud / INRA

LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Bergamot Group'



Kölninvesi 4711



× aurantium ssp. bergamia
 (Risso et Poit.) Wight & Arn. ex Engl.
Citrus bergamia  Risso
Citrus × aurantium var. bergamia  Loisel.

From recent study, the parentage of bergamot is now considered a cross of lemon (C. limon) and sour orange (C. aurantium L.): ♀C. limon × ♂C. aurantium.

Bergamot is only known from cultivation and consists of a limited and well defined number of cultivars. Four groups of bergamot types are recognized: Common group,  Melarosa group (fruit rather flattened), Torulosa group (fruit ridged) and Piccola group (dwarf cultivars).

Only cultivars in the Common bergamot group are
commercially cultivated for the essential oil and three cultivars are grown: 'Castagnaro', 'Femminello' and 'Fantastico' (a.k.a. 'Inserto'). Formerly, 'Femminello' and 'Castagnaro' constituted virtually all commercial plantings in the world, but they have largely been replaced by 'Fantastico', a hybrid of 'Femminello' and 'Castagnaro'.

'Femminello' is somewhat less vigorous
and smaller than 'Castagnaro'. 'Castagnaro' is more upright and vigorous, attaining a larger size than 'Femminello', but is less fruitful and the oil is less aromatic.Their hybrid 'Fantastico' ('Inserto') is a fairly vigorous tree, that yields well and has only a slight tendency to alternate-bearing, its fruit is medium in size, averaging about 130 g with a rough rind texture and pleasant aroma.

Juice: The juice of the fruit was formerly used to prepare calcium citrate and citric acid, while nowadays it is a component of citrus soft drinks.
Pulp: The pulp is used as animal feed and for the extraction of pectins.

Essential oils: Bergamot is mainly grown for the essential oil present in the peel of its fruit (bergamot oil). Bergamot oil
is an important component of a toilet water, which was first developed around 1675 in Cologne (Germany) by the Italian immigrant Gian Paolo Feminis and sold by the name Aqua Mirabilis. His relatives further developed the industry and brought it to several other cities. Giovanni Maria Farina launched a new product called Eau de Cologne in 1709 . In 1803 Wilhelm Mühlens bought the rights and introduced a new toilet water called  Eau de Cologne 4711, which was the first industrially produced perfume. The number was the address number assigned to his house. The number later became Glockengasse 26-28 where the "4711" house still stands. Bergamot oil soon became a constituent of high quality perfumes and of men's perfumes, such as aftershaves.
Cosmetics: The oil is further used in skin care products (bronzers), soaps, lotions and creams. 
Other uses: Bergamot oil is also a characteristic additive of Earl Grey tea and of tobacco flavourings. In the Castelli
area south of Rome it is customary to put a bergamot fruit in a cask of Frascati wine to impart its characteristic aroma. Bergamot oil is also used to flavour confectionery, sweets, marmalades and citrus liqueurs. A different oil is obtained from the leaves (bergamot petitgrain oil), but is only produced to order, mainly for the perfume/after shave industry. See citrus oils.

In the Mediterranean area flowering is in March-April, fruits are harvestable in December-

The commercial cultivation of Bergamot is limited to the coasts of the Calabria region of Southern Italy where the Ionian Sea and the nearby mountain range protect the coastal areas from cold weather and northerly winds in the winter.The area has the highest average annual temperature and the highest number of sunshine hours in Italy and is further characterized by mild winters, a small difference between day and night temperatures and the absence of frost.

Cultivated varieties: 'Castagnaro', 'Femminello' and 'Fantastico ('Inserto')

ENG Bergamot, Bergamot orange, Lemon bergamot
FRA Bergamote, Bergamotier (tree)
GER Bergamotte, Strauchorange
I TA Bergamotta (fruit), Bergamotto (tree)
SPA Bergamot
Photos      (1-2) © Gene Lester
(3) © Franck Curk / INRA
(4) Mäurer & Wirtz GmbH & Co.
(5-6) © Jorma Koskinen

 LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Smooth Flat Seville ' Smooth Flat Seville
Smooth Flat Seville
Smooth Flat Seville
  Syn  Citrus × paradisi 'Smooth Seville'
Smooth Flat Seville
is an old Australian fruit that is thought to have originated as a seedling of unknown parentage and has generally been regarded as either a sour orange or a sweet orange and grapefruit hybrid. Its age and numerous resemblances to Poorman orange, however, suggest that it may be of similar origin and possibly a sister seedling.

Fruit is similar to Poorman in size, form, and flavour, but rind surface is very smooth. Both rind and flesh colour is reddish-orange. Tree and foliage similar to Poorman but tree commonly more vigorous and larger. Younger branches also exhibit dark bark streaks characteristic of Poorman.

Like Poorman, Smooth Seville has a lower heat requirement for maturity than the grapefruit and hence ripens earlier and serves as a satisfactory substitute.

 ENG Smooth Flat Seville, Smooth Seville
Photos   (1-2) © Jorma Koskinen
(3) © Gene Lester


LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Kikudaidai'

Kikudaidai, Citrus canaliculata

Kikudaidai, Citrus canaliculata
Citrus canaliculata  Y. Tanaka 
Citrus × aurantium L. subf. canaliculata ( Hort. ex Yu.Tanaka ) M.Hiroe

According to The Citrus Industry, vol 1:
"The Kikudaidai variety is an attractive, somewhat dwarfed ornamental with fruits that have a solid core and are medium-small, subglobose to oblate, yellowish-orange, and characteristically deeply, longitudinally grooved. The origin of this ornamental is unknown."

Some observations made at the UC-Riverside Citrus Variety Collection:

"The Kikudaidai was known in Japan as early as 1864 and is still grown in gardens as a curiosity. Its flower forms a very short inflorescence and leaves are rather broad with large petiole wings."

"A medium-large yellow fruit. Rind is rough similar to rough lemon. Rind of medium thickness, flesh yellow, hollow core, many seeds."

Kikudaidai is known as Ju dai dai in Chinese.

The variety is also known as 'Consolei' and 'Chrysanthemum'

ENG Kikudaidai, Kiku-daidai, Kiku, 
Photo     © Jorma Koskinen

LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Yama'

Yamamikan, citrus intermedia
Citrus intermedia
Citrus × aurantium L. f. intermedia ( Hort. ex Tanaka ) M.Hiroe

Observations made on the Yama or Yamamikan cultivar grown at the UC-Riverside Citrus Variety Collection include:

"A large fruit, wide 9.5 cm, height 7.9 cm, similar to Natsudaidai in size, shape & color, oblate to slightly oblique shaped, stem end flat, slightly bumpy, rind 7.8 mm, very hollow center, 25-30 seeds, fruit is acid, low solids, leaves large, acuinate tips, petiole average, large wings on petiole (like grapefruit)."

"Slightly necked, grapefruit-colored fruit; rind 1 cm thick; large oil glands, marked aroma of sweet orange; light orange flesh, tender, juicy, fairly sweet and pleasant; fairly seedy. Large tree."
It seems to be a hybrid of sweet orange and grapefruit: ♀C.sinensis × ♂unown pommelo.

Yama is known as Shan mi gan in Chinese

ENG Yama, Intermediate orange, Yama-mikan sour orange, Mountain citrus
FRA Pomelo Yama
Photo     © UCR Citrus Variety Collection

LAT Citrus × aurantium  'Karna'

Khatta, Citrus karna

Karna, Citrus karna
Citrus karna  Raf.
Citrus × aurantium L. var. khatta Bonavia 
Citrus dimorphocarpa Lush.

Karna (Khatta) is an old fruit from Maharashtra State, India. It is of unkknown origin but is suspected to be a cross or sour orange and lemon. While the tree and fruit are distinctive, they exhibit characters of both rough lemon and sour orange and there are also characters suggestive of the acid citron.
The fruits are typical sour oranges but the flowers are red-tinted like those of the lemon.

The commercial importance of karna arises from the fact that it is extensively employed in India as a rootstock, second only to rough lemon.

The tree is vigorous, medium to large in size, upright-spreading. Foliage is lemon-like but darker green. New growth is also purple-tinted. Fruit medium to medium large, of variable form but in general round to oval; usually with broad and prominent nipple, Rind moderately thick, firm; surface smooth, warty or ribbed; tightly adherent; color golden yellow to deep orange.

Flesh color dull orange; coarse-textured, only moderately juicy; flavor acid with faint aroma suggestive of sour orange.

The two best-known cultivars are: Khatta and Kabbad.

The fruit is also known as Karna nimbu, Karna Khatta, Khatta, Soh-sarkar.

ENG Karna, Khatta, Indian lemon
FRA Lime Khatta de l'Inde
Photo     (1) © C. Jacquemond / INRA
© UCR Citrus Variety Collection

LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Kitchli'
Kitchli, Citrus maderaspatana
Syn Citrus maderaspatana Tanaka
is an old Indian fruit of unknown origin. It somewhat resembles the bittersweet orange though it is smaller, flatter, and rougher in surface texture. It is of commercial importance in South India, principally in the Guntur district. Several clones are recognized, but only that of mildest flavor is propagated commercially

Kitchli has medium adherent to loose skin that is rough and somewhat warty and of medium thickness. The colour is yellowish-orange. The fruit is seedy, the flesh is pale orange-coloured.
The flavour pleasant at full maturity, with slightly bitter aftertaste and musky aroma. Prior to maturity flesh is sharply acid. 

The best-known variety is Guntur.


Kitchli sour orange, Vadlapudi sour orange, Guntur sour orange

Photo     © UCR Citrus Variety Collection

LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Miaray'
Syn Citrus miaray Wester
Miaray is closely related to Japanese summer orange (Citrus natsudaidai), Nansho-daidai (Citrus taiwanica) and Sanbokan (Citrus sulcata)

A handsome ornamental tree suggested as a rootstock for cultivated citrus fruits. It has slender drooping willowy branches, dark-green leaves, and ornamental looking fruit. However, the taste is very sour and bitter and leaves a foul after taste in one's mouth.

Foliage lanceolate, pointed, somewhat mandarin-like, with lined to narrowly winged petioles. Young growth has slightly purple tinge. Small, round, bumpy fruit of yellow to orange color. Rind medium-thick. Seedy. Flesh light yellowish orange.

ENG Miarai sour orange
FRA Pomelo miaray
Photo     © UCR Citrus Variety Collection


 LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Natsudaidai'

Natsumikan, Japanese summer orange

Natsumikan, Japanese summer orange

Natsumikan, Japanese summer orange

Natsumikan, Japanese summer orange
Citrus natsudaidai
Citrus × aurantium L. f. natsudaidai (Tanaka) M.Hiroe
Citrus natsumikan

(Natsumikan) was believed to be a natural hybrid of pomelo and sour orange.
The parentage of natsudaidai is now considered a cross of an unown pommelo and kishu mandarin: ♀unown pommelo × ♂C. kinokuni.

The original seedling tree of this fruit is said to have been found in a garden in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, toward the end of the 17th century and is reported still alive. The value of its late-ripening characteristic was not appreciated until approximately a century later and is reflected in the names most commonly used for it: (natsu means summer) Natsudaidai, summer sour orange and Natsumikan summer orange.

Fruit medium to medium-large (grapefruit size), sometimes with very short collared neck and apex slightly depressed; moderately seedy. Color yellowish-orange. Rind medium-thick; surface coarsely pebbled slightly rough. Segments fairly numerous (12); axis large and semi-hollow at maturity. Flavor acid and refreshing. Late in maturity (summer-maturing in most climates). Holds well on the tree and improves in storage.

The Natsudaidai tree is reported to be less cold resistant than the satsuma mandarin in Japan. Heat requirement for fruit maturity somewhat less than that of the grapefruit and comparable with the so-called Poorman orange and Wheeny grapefruit, both of which attain acceptable quality in climates too cool for satisfactory maturity of the grapefruit. Nevertheless, even at full maturity the Natsudaidai remains too acid for some palates.

Natsudaidai is grown commercially in the Japanese coastal regions of mildest winters in Kumamoto and Ehime prefecture. The rough textured fruit is easy to peel and is commonly eaten fresh. It is currently second in importance only to the satsuma mandarin. It is also used for wide variety of products ranging from marmalades to alcoholic beverages.

Numerous unnamed clones and selections are grown, some of which exhibit minor differences, but only two derivative varieties—Kawano and Tajima— are propagated commercially. Kawano differs from the common Natsudaidai in the fact that the fruit is less acid (and hence sweeter), matures much earlier, and loses quality if held on the tree after maturity. Tajima is a new and very juicy, late-ripening, high acid variety of much less importance, but considered to be promising.

The best-known varieties are: Amanatsu, Beni Amanatsu, Kawano, Tajima and Natsudaidai.

Natsudaidai is also known as Natsukan, Daidai mikan, Ri ben ku ju, Tajima.

ENG Japanese summer orange, Natsudaidai
FRA Bigarade natsudaïdaï   
Photo    © Jorma Koskinen

LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Tosu'
'Tosu' sour orange, Citrus neoaurantium
'Tosu' sour orange, Citrus neoaurantium
Citrus neoaurantium Tanaka 

Tosu is a variety of sour orange that originated in Okitsu on the Honshu island of Japan. The seedy fruit are slightly depressed at both ends and the size of small grapefruit. Rind is yellow to yellowish orange, medium thick and slighty rough.

Flesh is light orange to yellow, juicy and very sour.
The exact parentage is not known but due to fruit shape and rind texture it has been suggested that Tosu could be a hybrid of sour orange and citron or sour orange and mandarin. The narrow leaves resemble mandarin or sweet orange.

ENG Japanese Tosu orange
FRA Bigarade Tosu
Photo     (1) © C. Jacquemond / INRA
© UCR Citrus Variety Collection


LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Zadaidai'

Zadaidai sour orange, Citrus rokugatsu

Zadaidai sour orange, Citrus rokugatsu
Citrus rokugatsu Yu. Tanaka
Citrus × aurantium L. var. cyathifera Yu. Tanaka

is a well-known variety in Japan. The tree is somewhat lacking in vigor, usually dwarfed, round-topped, and nearly thornless, but otherwise similar to the common sour orange except that the leaves are slightly smaller, with petioles more narrowly winged. 
Fruits globose, about the size of a small orange with yellowish orange rind.
The fruit is otherwise round but it is flattened and slightly depressed at both ends. Flesh light to medium orange in color, seedy, juicy and sour.

Zadaidai differs from most other sour orange hybrids due to its relatively thin, loose and tender rind, which peels of easily, almost like a Satsuma. The rind also puffs with age. This has led to the theory that Zadaidai could be a hybrid of mandarin and sour orange.

Zadaidai is also known as: Rokugatsu-mikan

ENG Zadaidai sour orange, Rokugatsu-mikan sour orange
FRA Bigarade Zadaïdaï
Photo     © Jorma Koskinen

LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Sanbokan'
Sanbokan, Citrus sulcata
Sanbokan, Citrus sulcata
Sanbokan, Citrus sulcata
Sanbokan, Citrus sulcata
Citrus sulcata  hort. ex Takahashi
Citrus × aurantium L. subf. sulcata ( Ik.Takah. ) M.Hiroe


Sanbokan (Sanbô) is an old Japanese fruit. It was first described in 1848 and is still popular and grown mainly in the Wakayama Prefecture of Japan.
It was early classified as a sour orange hybrid and recent study showed that the parentage of sambokan is a cross of Kaikoukan (C. truncata Hort. ex Tanaka) and kishu mandarin: ♀C. truncata × ♂C. kinokuni.

Due to its popularity and the shape and taste of the fruit is has many names: Sanbokan lemon, Sanbokan Sweet Lemon, Sanbokan grapefruit.

This comparatively cold resistant 10 -15 feet tall tree bears large grapefruit-sized obovoid fruit. The prominent collar or neck of the mature fruit is a distinguishing feature. The yellow, coarsely pebbled rind is medium thick, about 1 cm, and easily removed.

The flesh is seedy, moderately juicy, sweet and has a good flavour. The leaves are fairly small, slightly winged with a petiole slightly shorter than average.

The flavour of Sanbokan is lemon-like but sweeter. It can be used as limes and lemons. The juice tastes somewhat like sweetened lemonade.

Sanbokan is San bao gan in Chinese and Sanboukan in Japanese

ENG Sanbokan sour orange, Sanbokan Sweet Lemon, Sanbokan grapefruit 
Photo     © Laaz

 LAT Citrus × aurantium 'Nanshodaidai'

Citrus taiwanica

Citrus taiwanica

Nanshodaidai, Citrus taiwanica

Nanshodaidai, Citrus taiwanica
Citrus taiwanica Tanaka & Y. Shimada
Citrus nanshô-daidai

Nansho Daidai sour orange (Citrus taiwanica) was found growing semiwild in forests of Taiwan (formerly Formosa, present day Chinese Taipei) especially in the Nan Zhuang (formerly Nanshô) district. Nansho resembles the ordinary Japanese sour orange (Daidai) but has much longer lanceolate leaves (12-15 cm) that are sharply pointed and the yellow fruits are somewhat flattened, slightly necked with a small nipple at the apex. The tree is vigorous, upright-spreading, and very thorny. Flesh is juicy with an acid flavour and bitter aftertaste. Flesh colour is dull yellow.

Recent molecular studies have shown it to be a close relative of Sanbokan (Citrus sulcata) and as a pomelo-mandarin hybrid studies have placed it at about 60% pomelo - 40% mandarin.

Nansho Daidai is very hardy. It tolerates freezing temperatures well for a certain period without leaf drop or loss of crop the following season. It is reported to have survived temperatures down to 5° F (-15° C). Nansho Daidai is one of the hardiest evergreen citrus trees.

Nansho Daidai is known as Nan zhuang cheng or Nan zhuang dai dai in Chinese and Nanshou daidai in Japanese.

ENG Taiwan orange, Nansho Daidai sour orange
FRA Bigarade nanshô-daïdaï  
Photo    (1-2) © Gene Lester
© UCR Citrus Variety Collection


Page up-dated 19 Mach 2021

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