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Citrus ID


Hesperethusa crenulata




Limonia crenulata Roxb. (sec. Swingle and Reece 1967)

Cultivar or taxon


Naringi crenulata (Roxb.) Nicolson (sec. Bayer et al. 2009); Hesperethusa crenulata (Roxb.) M. Roem. (sensu 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 mottled; thorns straight; prickles absent or not persistent. Petiole glabrous, length medium or long; wings narrow, adjoining the blade. Leaflets five to seven, margin crenate/crenulate or serrate/serrulate, rachis wings wide, shade leaflet blades flat or weakly conduplicate, sun leaflet blades flat or weakly conduplicate. Leaflets not scented when crushed. Fruit as broad as long or longer than broad; rind black; rind texture smooth (1-3); firmness membranous; navel absent; flesh red/purplish-tinged.

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

"Talbot (1909, pp. 198, 199) described this species as follows: "A spinous, glabrous, small tree: spines straight 0.5"-1" [12-25 mm] long. Leaves imparipinnate; leaflets 2-3 pairs, 1"-2" [2.5-5.1 cm] by 0.5"-1" [1.2-2.5 cm], conspicuously gland-dotted, sessile, ovate, emarginate, crenulate; terminal leaflet usually largest; rachis and petiole broadly winged, jointed; joints of rachis obovate. Racemes short, axillary, pubescent, subumbellate, few-flowered. Flowers 4-merous. Calyx small, glandular, 4-lobed; lobes ovate. Petals 4, fragrant, white, 0.25" [6 mm] long, elliptic. Disk annular or stipitate. Ovary 4-celled with 1 pendulous ovule in each cell; style short. Fruit globose, 1-4 seeded, 0.25" [6 mm] in diameter, black when ripe; pedicels 0.75" [19 mm] long."

"This species is a small tree reaching a height of 25 to 30 feet (7.6 to 9.14 m); it grows commonly on dry hills or in dry jungles. It was said by Haines (1921, vol. 2, p. 163) to be "subdeciduous at the time of flowering." The wood is largely used in Bihar and Orissa, India, for cart axles. Several authors have stated that the spines are sometimes paired and that the leaves often have four pairs of leaflets. The inflorescences often bear from one to several foliage leaves at the base, and leaf spurs (Kurztrieben ), with very short internodes, are often borne in the axils of the leaves of older twigs. The petioles of the leaves on such Kurztrieben are often more narrowly winged than the rachis segments of the same leaves and are sometimes almost wingless. The fruits are said by many authors to be very acid, but Haines (1921, vol. 2, p. 163) reported them to be "intensely bitter (not acid)." Guillaumin (1911, p. 660) spoke of the seeds being "immersed in a mucilage," but no one seems to have realized up to now that the locules of the fruit contain rudimentary pulp-vesicles. Hesperethusa crenulata produces a hard, close-grained, light yellow wood in India, and its leaves, fruits, and roots are used in making medicine in that country. According to Watt (1890, vol. 4, p. 642) the fruit is exported from India "to the Arabian coasts, where it is used as a condiment with fish, meat, etc., being powdered along with the spices commonly used in cooking."



Swingle (1967) additonally noted that: "Hesperethusa crenulata is promising as an ornamental because of its beautiful, feathery, green foliage (see fig. 3-23). Grafts of it on Citrus were still growing in the greenhouses of the Agricultural Research Service at Washington after 20 years, although the union of the stock and scion was somewhat swollen. It can also be grafted on Swinglea glutinosa (the Philippine tabog), which belongs to the subtribe Balsamocitrinae."



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.

Guillaumin, A. 1911. Rutaceae. In: Lecomte, H. Flore Générale de l'Indo-Chine 1: 629–687.

Haines, H.H. 1921. The botany of Bihard and Orissa, Part II. Adlard & Son, London, 224 pp. (Rutaceae, pp. 158–68)

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.

Talbot, W.A. 1909–11. Forest flora of the Bombay Presidency and Sind. Printed for the Gov't., Poona, India. 2 col. (Rutaceae, 1: 184–206).

Watt, G. 1889-93. A dictionary of the economic products of India. Supt. Gov't. Print., Calcutta. 6 vol.



Search for this cultivar in NCBI Entrez or NCBI Nucleotide

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


Citrus ID Edition 2
October, 2011