Citrus maxima

Rutaceae

A totally different angle today. This plant (actually the fruit) is seen in grocery stores and might have gotten your attention because of its large size. When you first see its size, you might think it is a Texas lemon. But, it is pomelo, pummelo, or in scientific terms Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis. It is the largest citrus fruit from the family Rutaceae and the principal ancestor of the grapefruit. It is a natural, i.e., non-hybrid, citrus fruit, native to Southeast Asia. It is also known as the shaddock, Bali lemon, or Chinese grapefruit. It is usually pale green or yellow in color when ripe. The flesh is sweeter than its ancestor, the grapefruit, but the skin and outer membrane are equally bitter. The skin is often used to make marmalades or candy confections dipped in chocolate. The flesh is edible without the addition of sugar as in a grapefruit and is not as juicy as grapefruit. Pomelos were first grown in China around 100 BC. The trees grow between 20 and 40 feet tall and produce fuzzy leaves and white blossoms, much like orange trees. In the wild, pomelos can weigh up to 25 pounds. It would not be wise to camp under or spend too much time under one of these trees. Pomelos tend to prefer warm climates and most US-based production occurs in Florida and California. Some reports of this plant being grown also in south Texas and maybe? South Louisiana. Caterpillars of the giant swallowtail are reported to eat this plant plus three moths, Platynota rostrana, Spodoptera eridania, and Spodoptera latifascia.