What are the 3 citrus fruits?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

The three citrus fruits that are often considered the ancestral or fundamental species in the genus Citrus are the mandarin orange, pomelo, and citron. These three fruits have played a significant role in the development of modern citrus cultivars and have a rich history.

1. Mandarin Orange: The mandarin orange is a small, sweet citrus fruit that is thought to be one of the oldest cultivated citrus fruits. It is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia and has been cultivated for thousands of years. Mandarin oranges are known for their easy-to-peel skin and sweet, juicy flesh. They come in various varieties, including clementines and tangerines, which are popular globally. The mandarin orange has been extensively used in breeding programs to develop new citrus varieties with desirable traits such as seedlessness and disease resistance.

2. Pomelo: The pomelo is a citrus fruit that is native to Southeast Asia. It is the largest citrus fruit, resembling a large grapefruit, but with a sweeter and milder flavor. Pomelos have a thick rind and are typically pale green or yellow when ripe. They are known for their refreshing taste and are often used in salads or eaten fresh. Pomelos have been grown and enjoyed for centuries and have influenced the development of other citrus fruits, particularly grapefruits. They are also used in breeding programs to enhance the flavor and size of citrus varieties.

3. Citron: The citron, also known as the Buddha’s hand or fingered citron, is a unique citrus fruit that is native to Asia. It is characterized by its distinctive shape, with elongated finger-like segments. The citron has a thick, aromatic rind and minimal pulp or juice. It is primarily used for its zest, which is highly prized in culinary applications, particularly in Asian cuisine. The citron has a long history and is considered one of the original citrus fruits. It has contributed to the development of other citrus varieties, including lemons and limes, through cross-breeding and hybridization.

These three citrus fruits, mandarin orange, pomelo, and citron, have played a crucial role in shaping the diversity of modern citrus cultivars. Their unique flavors, aromas, and characteristics have been utilized in breeding programs to create new varieties with improved taste, appearance, and disease resistance. The cultivation and consumption of these ancestral citrus fruits have a rich cultural and historical significance, and they continue to be enjoyed by people worldwide.