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Citrus ID


African Powder-flask




Nigerian Powder-flask (sec. Cottin 2002); Citrus paniculata Schum., Balsamocitrus paniculata (Schum. & Thonn.) Swingle, Aegle barteri Hook. f., Limonia warneckei Engl. (sec. Swingle and Reece 1967)

Cultivar or taxon


Afraegle paniculata (Schum. & Thonn.) Engl. (sec. Swingle and Reece 1967, Bayer et al. 2009; sensu Tanaka sec. Cottin 2002)



Crown compact or dense, not weeping. First-year twig surface glabrous; second- or third-year twig surface mottled; thorns straight; prickles absent or not persistent. Petiole glabrous, length very long, wings absent. Leaflets three, rarely one; margins bluntly toothed; rachis wings absent; shade leaflet blades flat; sun leaflet blades weakly conduplicate. Leaflets not scented when crushed. Fruit as broad as long or longer than broad; rind dark green (3), medium green (4), light green with some break to yellow (5) or green-yellow (6); rind texture smooth (1-3); firmness woody; navel absent.

Swingle and Reece (1967) provided the following additional notes on the species:

"In 1912 Swingle quoted a detailed description of this plant by Chevalier. It reads as follows (in translation from the French): "Tree 8-15 m high, branching 1.5-2 m above ground. Trunk 25-40 cm diam., bark brown, lightly split longitudinally. Branches numerous, spiny, making a rounded head like an orange tree. Young twigs green, slender, glabrous, spines straight, very sharp, 12-18 mm long, occurring in the axils of some leaves.

"Leaves alternate, 3-foliolate or, by exception, 1-foliolate by abortion, 8-16 cm long, completely glabrous. Leaflets similar, oboval or oblong, cuneiform at base, rounded or alternate, subacute at the apex, sometimes retuse, lightly crenulate in the upper half or 2/3 of the margin, firm or subcoriaceous, a beautiful green color both above and below, central leaflet a little larger than the lateral ones, measuring 4.5-11 cm long and 2.5-5.5 cm broad, borne on a petiole 5-30 mm long, articulated at the two ends, lateral petioles 2-10 mm long. Inflorescences small, axillary panicles, 4-6 cm long, few-flowered (6-10 fls.), isolated at the axil of the leaves or inserted on parts having already lost their leaves. Rachis and pedicels glabrous green, pedicels 2-3 mm long. Flowers white, with a strong odor of 'berlingot,' glabrous, buds ovoid. Calyx cyathiform, 3-4 mm long with 4 short lobes rounded and irregular. Petals 4, oval, oblong, rounded at the apex, greenish outside, white inside, 10-13 X 4-6 mm, curved backward. Stamens 15-20 (usually 16), filaments free, white, fusiform, erect, 4-5 mm [long]; anthers oblong, 2.5 mm long. Disk greenish-stipulate, slightly lobed. Ovary ovoid, greenish, divided into ±8 locules. Stigma ovoid, glandular, 3 mm long, borne on a very short style.…

"Fruit globose or obovoid, sometimes slightly stipulate at base, almost always depressed at the top, as large as a big orange (6-8 cm diam. when mature), wrinkled on the surface, sometimes tuberculous, without odorous glands.

"Pericarp hard, 4-5 mm thick, resembling the pericarp of large fruited Strychnos, remaining green when mature, then becoming grayish.

"Segments 8 (!) with smooth walls (not covered with fleshy hairs). Each segment contains numerous seeds irregularly arranged in 2 or 3 rows, inserted in the placenta, axillary and in orderly arrangement, tegument whitish, parchment-like.

"Fresh flowers of Afraegle paniculata from a tree grown in the citrus greenhouse of the former Bureau of Plant Industry at Washington, D.C. (see fig. 3-54) were compared on July 10, 1937, with fresh flowers of A. gabonensis grown in the same greenhouse. They showed the following points of difference: Inflorescences of A. paniculata much longer, but pedicels slightly shorter (3 to 4 mm long); flowers about the same size as those of A. gabonensis; calyx not flat and discoid but cup-shaped with 3 to 5 clearly marked, very bluntly pointed lobes, finely ciliate at the apex; petals very similar to those of A. gabonensis; stamens similar but in A. paniculata nearly four times as numerous as the petals (often one or two short of this number), whereas in A. gabonensis three times as many (or a few short); disk smaller, about 3.5 to 4.5 mm wide and 1.5 mm high, pea-green instead of yellowish-green, as in A. gabonensis."



Bayer, R.J., D.J. Mabberley, C. Morton, C.H. Miller, I.K. Sharma, B.E. Pfeil, S. Rich, R. Hitchcock, and S. Sykes. 2009. A molecular phylogeny of the orange subfamily (Rutaceae: Aurantioideae) using nine cpDNA sequences. American Journal of Botany 96: 668–685.

Cottin, R. 2002. Citrus of the World: A citrus directory. Version 2.0. France: SRA INRA-CIRAD.

Swingle, W.T. and P.C. Reece. 1967. The botany of Citrus and its wild relatives. In: Reuther, W., H.J. Webber, and L.D. Batchelor (eds.). The Citrus industry. Ed. 2. Vol. I. University of California, Riverside.



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Citrus ID Edition 2
October, 2011