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Citrus ID


Gabon Powder-flask




Balsamocitrus gabonensis Swingle (sec. Swingle and Reece 1967)

Cultivar or taxon


Afraegle gabonensis (Swingle) Engl. (sec. Swingle and Reece 1967; sensu Tanaka sec. Cottin 2002)



Crown compact or dense, not weeping. First-year twig surface glabrous; second- or third-year twig surface striate; thorns straight; prickles absent or not persistent. Petiole glabrous, short length; wings absent, if present, narrow, adjoining the blade. Leaflets one, rarely three, margins crenate/crenulate, rachis wings absent, shade leaflet blades flat or weakly conduplicate, with margins somewhat curling upward, sun leaflet blades weakly or strongly conduplicate. Leaflets not scented when crushed. Fruit firmness woody; navel absent.

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

"Swingle's original description of this species reads as follows (in translation): "Balsamocitrus with simple or 3-foliolate leaves, lateral leaflets much shorter than the terminal one (never half as long), lanceolate or narrowly lanceolate, more or less acute at the apex, acute at the deltoid base, margin almost entire or slightly crenate, densely glandular-punctate; petioles winged, 0.5-3.5 cm long in 3-foliolate leaves, much longer than in 1-foliolate ones, very glabrous, flattened above, spines slender; sharp, solitary or in pairs in the axils of the leaves, scarcely as long as the petioles, 1-2 cm long or very slightly recurved. Flowers unknown. Fruits subpyriform, size of a large orange, cortex hard, 3 mm thick; seeds numerous, glabrous, oval or cuneiform, more or less angled, 1 1/2-1 3/4 cm long. 3/4-1 cm wide. Spiny tree, young twigs virgate green."

Fresh flowers from a tree grown in the former Bureau of Plant Industry greenhouse at Washington, D.C. (tree grown from seed sent by R. Père Klaine [No. 2008] in 1892 from Gabon to Paris, brought to the United States in 1912 by Swingle [l.c.]), were examined. The inflorescences are short, axillary racemes or corymbs, pedicels glabrous, 5-7 mm long, 1 mm diam. at base, 2 mm diam. at junction with the calyx; calyx 3-4 mm diam., thick, flat, plate-shaped with lobes very faintly or not at all marked, but with a thin, hyaline, ciliate membrane around the margin (the interruptions in this membrane probably delimit the poorly defined sepals); bud broadly conical, 4-5 mm wide and 7-8 mm long, vivid green; petals 3-5, green without, greenish-white or cream-white where thickest, 9-11 mm long, 3-5 mm wide, ovate-rounded at the tip and slightly acute, curved, strongly incurved near the apex, soon falling, each carrying 2 stamens attached at the base; stamens apparently 3 times as many as the petals (9-15), 4-6 mm long, glabrous, subulate, 1 mm diam. at the base, 0.5 mm at attachment to anthers, which are linear, arising at the base of a very long lobed disk and curving upward along the furrows in it; disk 5-6 mm diam., 2-3 mm high, forming a shallow cup in which the ovary fits loosely; ovary ovate, about 3 mm high, 2 1/2-3 mm wide, with 8 locules; ovules in each locule numerous, in 2 rows; style very short, thick, 1 3/4 mm wide, 1 mm long, ending in an ovoid glutinous stigma, 2 mm long and 1 1/2 mm wide.

Afraegle gabonensis, like Aeglopsis eggelingii, has three times as many stamens as petals, not twice as many or four (or more) times as many as do the other species of the subfamily. This species grows vigorously and fruits sparingly in the Fairchild Gardens, Coconut Grove, Florida."



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.



Search for this cultivar in NCBI Entrez

Additional information on this cultivar at University of California: Riverside Citrus Variety Collection


Citrus ID Edition 2
October, 2011