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(sĭt`rən), name for a tree (Citrus medica) of the family Rutaceae (orangeorange,
name for a tree of the family Rutaceae (rue, or orange, family), native to China and Indochina, and for its fruit, the most important fresh fruit of international commerce.
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 family), and for its fruit, the earliest of the citrus fruitscitrus fruits,
widely used edible fruits of plants belonging to Citrus and related genera of the family Rutaceae (orange family). Included are the tangerine, citrange, tangelo, orange, pomelo, grapefruit, lemon, lime, citron, and kumquat.
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 to be introduced to Europe from Asia. The small evergreen tree is now cultivated commercially in the Mediterranean region and, to a lesser extent, in the West Indies, Florida, and California. The large fruit has a rough and furrowed surface and a thin outer rind of yellowish green color. The inner rind is thick, white, and tender, and the pulp is small and acid. The juice is sometimes used as a beverage or syrup. The rind, candied and preserved, is used in confectionery and cookery. The fruit, also known as etrog or ethrog, is used in the celebration of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkoth. The name citron is also applied to a small species of watermelon with a thick rind, used to make preserves. Citron is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Sapindales, family Rutaceae.



(Citrus medica), a plant of the family Rutaceae. The citron is a shrub or small tree reaching 3 m in height. The branches have single axillary spines measuring 3–5 cm long. The large, ellipticovate, flat leaves have short winged petioles. The upper leaves are purple on growing shoots and dark green on mature shoots. The large bisexual or functionally male flowers are white with a reddish tinge; they are solitary or in inflorescences. The oblong, oval, or turban-shaped fruit is large, measuring 12–14 cm long and 8–10 cm across. The rough, warty, wrinkled (rarely smooth) rind is very thick (2–5 cm); it is lemon yellow or, sometimes, orange in coloration. It has a bitter or sweet taste and a pleasant aroma. The firm pulp is sour or tart; it contains citric acid.

The citron is native to India and southern China. Unknown in wild form, it is cultivated in many countries with a subtropical or tropical climate. The crop was brought to the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus at the end of the 17th century, but its cultivation did not spread because the plant was not frost-resistant. The citron is raised in botanical gardens and plant collections in humid subtropical zones of the Georgian SSR. Citron plants freeze at temperatures of –3°C and –4°C. The fruits are used to prepare preserves, and the rind is candied. In India and other subtropical countries seedlings are used as rootstocks for other citrus crops and, less commonly, as ornamentals. The leaves, floral parts, and rind yield essential oil.


Zhukovskii, P. M. Kul’turnye rasteniia i ikh sorodichi, 3rd ed. Leningrad, 1971.



Citrus medica. A shrubby, evergreen citrus tree in the order Sapindales cultivated for its edible, large, lemonlike fruit.


1. a small Asian rutaceous tree, Citrus medica, having lemon-like fruit with a thick aromatic rind
2. the fruit of this tree
3. a variety of watermelon, Citrullus vulgaris citroides, that has an inedible fruit with a hard rind
4. a greenish-yellow colour
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