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Taxon: Citrus medica L.

Genus: Citrus
Family: Rutaceae subfamily: Aurantioideae tribe: Aurantieae subtribe: Citrinae
Nomen number: 10745
Place of publication: Sp. pl. 2:782. 1753
Typification: View record from Linnaean Plant Name Typification Project of the Natural History Museum of London.
Name verified on: 06-Nov-1985 by ARS Systematic Botanists. Last updated: 08-May-2014
Species priority site is: Natl. Germplasm Repository - Riverside (RIV).
Accessions: 86 in National Plant Germplasm System.
  • all available ) NPGS accessions. or .
  • all available ) NPGS accessions by country.
  • Check PlantSearch database of Botanic Gardens Conservation International for possible non-NPGS germplasm.

See also subordinate taxa:

Common names:

  • Buddha's-Hand   (Source: Pl Res SEAs 2:133.) – English   [Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis]
  • citron   (Source: World Econ Pl ) – English
  • etrog citron   (Source: Mansf Ency ) – English   [Citrus medica var. ethrog]
  • finger citron   (Source: Pl Res SEAs 2:133.) – English   [Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis]
  • flesh-finger citron   (Source: Herbs Commerce ed2 ) – English   [Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis]
  • small citron   (Source: Mansf Ency ) – English   [Citrus medica var. ethrog]
  • fo shou gan   (Source: Mansf Ency ) – Transcribed Chinese   [Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis]
  • xiang yuan   (Source: F ChinaEng ) – Transcribed Chinese
  • cédrat   (Source: Mansf Ency ) – French
  • cédrat digité   (Source: Mansf Ency ) – French   [Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis]
  • cédratier   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – French
  • main de Bouddha   (Source: Mansf Ency ) – French   [Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis]
  • sarcodactyle   (Source: Mansf Ency ) – French   [Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis]
  • Buddhafinger   (Source: Mansf Ency ) – German   [Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis]
  • gefingerte Zitrone   (Source: Zander ed17 ) – German   [Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis]
  • medischer Apfel   (Source: S. Reichel, p.c.) – German
  • Zitronatzitrone   (Source: Zander ed14 ) – German
  • cedrato   (Source: Mansf Ency ) – Italian
  • bushukan   (Source: Mansf Ency ) – Japanese Rōmaji   [Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis]
  • cidra   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – Portuguese
  • cidreira   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – Portuguese
  • cidro   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – Spanish
  • toronja   (Source: Names Soukup ) – Spanish (Peru)
  • etrogcitron   (Source: Vara kulturvaxt namn ) – Swedish   [Citrus medica var. ethrog]
  • fingercitron   (Source: Vara kulturvaxt namn ) – Swedish   [Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis]
  • suckatcitron   (Source: Vara kulturvaxt namn ) – Swedish

Economic importance:

  • Food additives: flavoring   (fide Pl Res SEAs 2:132. 1991)
  • Environmental: ornamental   (fide Pl Res SEAs 2:133. 1991)
  • Human food: fruit   (fide Pl Res SEAs 2:132. 1991)
  • Gene sources: progenitor of combava (citrus)   (fide Pl Genet Res Char Ut 9:219, 220. 2011)
  • Gene sources: progenitor of lemon (citrus)   (fide Ann Bot 111:8. 2013)
  • Gene sources: progenitor of lime (citrus)   (fide Ann Bot 111:8. 2013)
  • Gene sources: progenitor of rough lemon (citrus)   (as paternal parent fide J Amer Soc Hort Sci 135:347. 2010)
  • Medicines: folklore   (fide Herbs Commerce ed2)

Distributional range:

    Indian Subcontinent: India

    China: China

  • possible origin n.e. India and China


  • Aldén, B., S. Ryman & M. Hjertson. 2009. Våra kulturväxters namn - ursprung och användning. Formas, Stockholm (Handbook on Swedish cultivated and utility plants, their names and origin).
  • Ali, S. I. & S. M. H. Jafri, eds. 1976–. Flora of Libya.
  • Bayer, R. J. et al. 2009. A molecular phylogeny of the orange subfamily (Rutaceae: Aurantioideae) using nine cpDNA sequences. Amer. J. Bot. 96:668–685. ["native to India"].
  • Carbonell-Caballero, J. et al. 2015. A phylogenetic analysis of 34 chloroplast genomes elucidates the relationships between wild and domestic species within the genus Citrus. Molec. Biol. Evol. doi:10.1093/molbev/msv082.
  • Davis, P. H., ed. 1965–1988. Flora of Turkey and the east Aegean islands.
  • Elevitch, C. R., ed. The traditional tree initiative: species profiles for Pacific Island agroforestry (on-line resource).
  • Encke, F. et al. 1984. Zander: Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen, 13. Auflage.
  • Encke, F. et al. 1993. Zander: Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen, 14. Auflage.
  • Facciola, S. 1990. Cornucopia, a source book of edible plants.
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2010. Ecocrop (on-line resource).
  • Froelicher, Y. et al. 2011. New universal mitochondrial PCR markers reveal new information on maternal citrus phylogeny. Tree Genet. Genomes 7:49–61. [this study examined the origin of cultivated citrus; it included a sample of Citrus medica; it obtained seven mitotypes, one of which only included C. medica; it supported the interpretation of its role as paternal ancestor of "lemon, 'rough' lemon, 'Mexican' lime, 'Volkamer' lemon, 'Rangpur' line, 'Bergamot', and 'Palestine' lime"].
  • Garcia-Lor, A. et al. 2013. A nuclear phylogenetic analysis: SNPs, indels and SSRs deliver new insights into the relationships in the 'true citrus fruit trees' group (Citrinae, Rutaceae) and the origin of cultivated species. Ann. Bot. (Oxford) 111:1–19.
  • Gmitter, F. G. et al. 2007. Citrus fruits. In: Kole. C., ed., Genome mapping and molecular breeding in plants (7 vols.) 14:265–279.
  • Hanelt, P., ed. 2001. Mansfeld's encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural crops. Volumes 1-6.
  • Li, X. et al. 2010. The origin of cultivated Citrus as inferred from Internal Transcribed Spacer and chloroplast DNA sequence and Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism fingerprints. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 135:341–350.
  • Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium. 1976. Hortus third.
  • Long, R. W. & O. Lakela. 1971. A flora of tropical Florida.
  • Luro, F. et al. 2011. Analysis of genetic diversity in Citrus. Pl. Genet. Resources Charact. Util. 9:218–221. [this study recognized Citrus medica as one of the ancestral species of citrus cultivars, and confirmed by primary metabolic compounds; it also provided additional support for linking C. medica to the origin of "lemon, lemon hybrids, limes and combayas"].
  • Mabberley, D. J. 1997. A classification for edible Citrus (Rutaceae). Telopea 7:169.
  • Macbride, J. F. et al., eds. 1936–1971. Flora of Peru.; new ser. 1980-
  • Markle, G. M. et al., eds. 1998. Food and feed crops of the United States, ed. 2.
  • Matthew, K. M. 1983. The flora of the Tamilnadu Carnatic. ["occurs truly wild"].
  • McGuffin, M., J. T. Kartesz, A. Y. Leung, & A. O. Tucker. 2000. Herbs of commerce, ed. 2.
  • Nicolosi, E. et al. 2000. Citrus phylogeny and genetic origin of important species as investigated by molecular markers. Theor. Appl. Genet. 100:1155–1166.
  • Penjor, T. et al. 2013. Phylogenetic relationships of Citrus and its relatives based on matK gene sequences. PLoS One 8(4): e62574. [this study included two samples of Citrus medica that clustered together, and apart from the mandarins, pummelo, Poncirus and Fortunella clades].
  • Porcher, M. H. et al. Searchable World Wide Web Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database (MMPND) (on-line resource).
  • Rehm, S. 1994. Multilingual dictionary of agronomic plants.
  • Reichel, S. 1998. pers. comm. [re. German common names].
  • Reitz, R., ed. 1965–. Flora ilustrada catarinense.
  • Scora, R. W. 1975. On the history and origin of Citrus. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 102:369–375. [as one of the "basic" species in the genus].
  • Soukup, J. 1970. Vocabulario de los nombres vulgares de la flora peruana.
  • Swingle, W. T. & P. C. Reece. 1967. The botany of Citrus and its wild relatives.
  • Tanaka, T. 1954. Species problem in Citrus: a critical study of wild and cultivated units of Citrus, based upon field studies in their native homes. In: Tanaka, T., Revisio Aurantiacearum 9:113.
  • Townsend, C. C. & E. Guest. 1966–. Flora of Iraq.
  • Turrill, W. B. et al., eds. 1952–. Flora of tropical East Africa.
  • Tutin, T. G. et al., eds. 1964–1980. Flora europaea.
  • Verheij, E. W. M. & R. E. Coronel, eds. 1991. Edible fruits and nuts. In: Faridah Hanum, I. & L. J. G. van der Maesen, eds., Plant Resources of South-East Asia (PROSEA). 2:131.
  • Wu Zheng-yi & P. H. Raven et al., eds. 1994–. Flora of China (English edition).

Check other web resources for Citrus medica L.:

  • Flora Europaea: Database of European Plants (ESFEDS)
  • Flora of China: Online version from Harvard University
  • TROPICOS: Nomenclatural and Specimen Database of the Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Mansfeld: Mansfeld's World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops
  • ePIC: Electronic Plant Information Centre of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • AGRICOLA: Article Citation Database or NAL Catalog of USDA's National Agricultural Library
  • Entrez: NCBI's search engine for PubMed citations, GenBank sequences, etc.

Check other web resources for images:

  • Google Images Note: Be advised that their identity may be inaccurate. Proper identification of a plant may require specialized taxonomic knowledge or comparison with properly documented herbarium material.

Abbreviations & symbols in GRIN Taxonomy

| USDA | ARS | GRIN | NPGS | New Search |

Cite as:
USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program.
Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database].
National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
URL: (05 October 2015)

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