Written by Michel Lachaume
January 9, 2020

Citrus season is on!

It’s finally citrus time! That’s why we have created an article that differentiates nearly all the different types of citrus fruits on the market. Let’s go and see these wonderful fruits again, in order to boost your vitamin C to survive the winter.

There are, in the world, a dozen mother species of citrus fruits. The vast majority of these citrus fruits are native from Asia. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, which is why we must also add the few species of lime-caviar that come from Australia. Botanists have determined that these fruits also belong to this large family, as do Yuzu and Kaffir lime. These are part of a category of the citrus fruit called Papeda, used mainly for their very aromatic side.

There are four main species to remember when identifying what is considered as modern citrus fruits: 

  • The mandarin tree 
  • The Citrus medica 
  • The Ancien Grapefruit, we call it Pomelo now 
  • Biasong, in the Papeda family, a kind of aromatic lime close to Combava (kaffir lime).

Just about everything we eat comes from crossbreeding between these four species. The same crossing can be made without achieving the same result. In fact, wherever they grow in the wild, thousands of different citrus fruits can be found. Like here, you will never find a wild apple tree whose fruit is exactly the same as the wild apple trees next to it. Just as we are different from our brothers and sisters, even though we have the same parents. Once we come across a delicious cross, to reproduce it, we use a cloning technique called grafting.  

Here are a few examples of citrus fruits and their lineage:

  • Ancient Grapefruit and Mandarin gave the bitter Orange (Seville Orange):
  • Citrus medica and bitter Orange gave the Lemon:
  • Citrus medica and the Papeda gave the Key Lime, and this one crossed with the Lemon gave us the Persian Lime (our common lime, which is often replaced in the market by simple lime, with an almost identical aromatic profile):
  • Lemon and the Bitter Orange gave us Bergamot:
  • Bitter Orange and another similar crossbreed of Mandarin trees gave Sweet Orange:
  • Sweet Orange and Ancient Grapefruit gave the modern White Grapefruit:
  • Sweet Orange and modern Grapefruit gave a host of different Tangerines, like the Honeybell (Mineola) and the Ugli fruit.
  • The Tangerine crossed with a Sweet Orange gave us the Clementine:

Citrus fruits often produce mutations in a natural way. Sometimes, a single branch of the tree gives fruits that are totally different from those of the other branches. Here are a few examples of mutations that we consume:

  • The seedless Navel Orange is a “Siamese” Orange.  There is a tiny orange growing in another. There have been other similar mutations since then, this explains the diversity of Navels.
  • The Cara Cara orange is a mutation of the Navel Orange discovered in South America.
  • Blood Oranges also come from mutations. The red flesh of these various mutations varies in pigmentation. 
  • The Pink Grapefruit is a mutation of the yellow-fleshed one. Red Grapefruit is a mutation of a Pink Grapefruit. 

That’s the way life is! Citrus fruits are delicious and taste great in summer, even in the cold of winter. Enjoy the season.

The new harvest of our fabulous oranges from Portugal has arrived. Even though they are classified as “juice oranges”, they are fantastic to eat fresh and they almost have no seeds.

Code: 4402 Juice oranges from Portugal