Citrus limon (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Citrus limon (L.) Burm.f.

Family: Rutaceae

Vernacular names

  • Lemon (En)
  • Citronnier (Fr)
  • Indonesia: jeruk limun
  • Malaysia: limau nipis, limau mata
  • Philippines: limon
  • Cambodia: krôôch chhmaa vèèng
  • Laos: naaw th'ééd, naaw fàlang
  • Thailand: manao-thet, manao-farang, manao-mairuho (central)
  • Vietnam: chanh tây.


Presumably native to southern Asia, now widely cultivated in all subtropics and occasionally in the tropics. Main producers are the United States (California), Italy, Spain and Greece.


Lemon is the leading acid citrus fruit of the world, used in numerous ways in drinks, as a flavouring, in marmalades, etc. Medicinally the juice is used as a diuretic, antiscorbutic, astringent and febrifuge. Lemon oil is used in perfumery.


  • Tree, 3-6 m tall with stout stiff spines.
  • Leaves oblong to elliptic-ovate, 6-12.5 cm × 3-6 cm; flowers white.
  • Fruit an ovoid to cylindrical berry, 7-12.5 cm long, yellow to golden, with a thick rough peel, and 8-10 segments.

Lemon prefers cool, dry surroundings, mean annual temperatures 15-18°C, annual rainfall up to 1250 mm. Acid and sweet forms are distinguished, and many hybrids exist. A well-known cultivar is "Rough Lemon", a lemon × citron hybrid, sometimes given the species name Citrus jambhiri Lush., now a popular rootstock for citrus. The lemon is closely related to the citron (Citrus medica L.).

Selected sources

  • Morton, J.F., 1987. Fruits of warm climates. Creative Resource Systems Inc., Winterville, N.C., USA. 503 pp.
  • Ochse, J.J., Soule, M.J., Dijkman, M.J. & Wehlburg, C., 1961. Tropical and subtropical agriculture. 2 Volumes. The Macmillan Company, New York. 1446 pp.
  • Reuther, W., Webber, H.J. & Batchelor, L.D. (Editors), 1967. The Citrus industry. Revised ed. 4 Volumes. Division of Agricultural Sciences, University of California.


P.C.M. Jansen, J. Jukema, L.P.A. Oyen, T.G. van Lingen