The trifoliate orange or Poncirus (Citrus trifoliata L., 1763) is a citrus fruit belonging to the Rutaceae family.
From the systematic point of view it belongs to the Domain Eukaryota, Kingdom Plantae, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Sottoclasse Rosidae, Order Sapindales, Family Rutaceae, Subfamily Aurantioideae, Tribe Citreae and then to the Genus Citrus and to the Specie C. trifoliata.
The terms are synonymous: Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf., Aegle sepiaria DC. , nom. illeg. and Citrus triptera Desf ..
The term Citrus is the Latin name of the cedar and lemon, from the Greek Greek κέδρος kédros cedar and κίτρον kítron lemon. The specific trifoliata epithet is composed of the prefix tri- tre and fólium leaf: that is, it has only three leaves or with leaves composed of three leaflets.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Citrus trifoliata is a citrus fruit originating from central and northern China and Korea, which is now grown all over the world.
The trifoliate orange is a small, fast-growing tree with irregular bushy habit. The branches usually have long pointed spines, but spurs without thorns, with close internodes, also develop on the branches of a year.
The leaves are trifoliate, with a larger apex and two smaller lateral ones, and petioles provided with fins. The plant has a particular flowering: The flower buds are formed at the beginning of summer but open only the following spring, before the leaves are released. The flowers are single and medium in size.
The fruit is a green, yellow when ripe, piriform or globose, with a diameter of up to 5 cm, covered by a thick, fragrant, oily skin for visible glands, rough to the touch and slightly pubescent, with numerous ovoid, whitish seeds.
It is the only deciduous citrus fruit.
Citrus trifoliata is a plant very resistant to cold (up to -15 ° C), which is grown for ornamental purposes or as rootstock for other citrus (in fact gives a good resistance to cold, a high adaptability to moist soils, resistance to the nematode citrus fruit and the gummy collar, an early entry into production and a good quality of the fruit, much appreciated for pot plants because it has a slightly nano-like effect and a superficial root system). In addition to giving the new plants resistance to cold and diseases, it seems that Citrus trifoliata plants favor more abundant crops.
Because of its resistance to cold, this citrus fruit can be grown far beyond the classic temperate band reserved for other citrus fruit. The plant propagates easily by seed and cutting. For details on the cultivation technique refer to the specific sheet.
Uses and Traditions –
The trifoliate orange or Ponciro was the favorite of the Franciscan friars and of the Certosini friars who cultivated it in the cloister of the convents or as an isolated tree or as a fence hedge. The term Ponciro seems to derive from the French pomme de Syrie (pomo of Syria).
This particular citrus is grown, as well as rootstock, as a plant to combat environmental pollution in parks, gardens and along the busiest roads and highways.
By crossing the trifoliate orange with some species of the genus Citrus some hybrids have been obtained: Citrange, which are hybrids of Poncirus trifoliata x Citrus sinensis; Citrumeli, which are hybrids of Poncirus trifoliata x Citrus paradisi.
Preparation Mode –
Esperidium, that is the fruit of Ponciro, is not edible from raw because of too many seeds contained in the fruit. Cotto is excellent for the preparation of jams; as macerated for the production of some liqueurs and, minced and dehydrated, as a spice. It has a very bitter taste but with a pleasant fragrance.
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Pharmacy of the Lord, Advice and experience with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only and do not in any way represent a medical prescription; there is therefore no liability for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.