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Citrus ID






Chalcas L.; Bergera Koen.; Murraya Koen.; Marsana Sonner. (sec. Swingle and Reece 1967)

Cultivar or taxon


Bergera K.D. Koenig ex L. (sec. Bayer et al. 2009); Murraya Koenig (sec. Swingle and Reece 1967, Mabberley 1997; sensu Tanaka sec. Cottin 2002)



Crown compact or dense, not weeping. First-year twig surface pubescent; second- or third-year twig surface mottled; thorns absent or not persistent; prickles absent or not persistent. Petiole pubescent, length medium; wings absent, if present, narrow. Leaflets greater than seven, margin bluntly toothed or serrate/serrulate, rachis wings absent, shade leaflet blades flat or weakly conduplicate, sun leaflet blades weakly conduplicate. Scent of crushed leaflets spicy, peppery, or somewhat to strongly malodorous. Fruit as broad as long or longer than broad; rind black or red or pink; rind texture smooth (1-3); firmness membranous; navel absent; flesh red/purplish-tinged.

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

"Unarmed trees with odd-pinnate leaves with alternate leaflets; inflorescences, rather large panicles, either axillary or terminal; flower buds cylindrical or long-ovoid; flowers rather large, 5-merous; calyx of 5 ovate or lanceolate sepals united at the base or only in the lower third; petals 5, rather large, lanceolate or linear, imbricate; stamens 10, free, elongate, filaments flattened in some species, anthers small, broadly elliptic or oval; disk annular, cushion-shaped or cylindrical, short; ovary ovoid, with 2-5 locules, each with 2 (or 1) superimposed or almost collateral ovules; style rather long and slender, finally falling off, stigma capitate; fruit a small berry, ovoid or subglobose, with mucilaginous pulp; seeds medium-sized, with a thin testa, cotyledons plano-convex.

Murraya is a genus containing eleven species, of which all but three are rather closely related species that fall into two or three groups not as yet adequately studied. The only relationship of Murraya that appears clear is with Clausena, a genus that is difficult to distinguish at first sight from Murraya except by its having, as a rule, much shorter styles and smaller flowers with larger anthers. Careful study of the genus Clausena has, however, shown that all the species have an hourglass-shaped gynophore of a character not found in Murraya . The tissues of all the flower parts in Clausena are usually highly impregnated with tannin residues deposited in some but not all of the cells. The curious species M. alternans, which seems to be related to M. alata, has a stalked ovary unique in Murraya but of different morphology from the gynophore found in Clausena."

"The flowers of Glycosmis, Clausena, and Murraya are usually borne in dense, often large, panicled clusters at the tips of the branches. None of the genera of this subtribe have spines."

"The cotyledons of the seeds are thick and fleshy like those of Murraya, Clausena, and most of the other Citrus relatives, and differ widely from those of Micromelum, which are thin and folded."



Swingle and Reece (1967) additionally noted that:

"The anomalous species M. stenocarpa, having unifoliolate leaves, is still too inadequately known to permit discussion of its relationships.

It is clear that Murraya is not closely related to Citrus; nevertheless Citrus has at least once been successfully grafted on M. paniculata, a vigorous species easily propagated from cuttings. Dr. Toxopeus, working in Java (1936, p. 6), reported having crossed Citrus and M. paniculata, but he obtained only stunted hybrids.

Tanaka (1929a) published a monographic study of the species of Murraya (under the genus name Chalcas) which has greatly helped in understanding this genus. He was the first taxonomist to transfer Micromelum glabrum Guill. and Atalantia stenocarpa Drake to the genus Murraya."



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.

Mabberley, D.J. 1997. A classification for edible Citrus (Rutaceae). Telopea 7: 167–172.

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.

Tanaka, T. 1929b. Chalcas, a Linnean genus which includes many new types of Asiatic Plants. (Revisio aurantiacearum, IV.) Journal of the Society of Tropical Agriculture 1: 23–44 (Reprinted as: Contributions of the Horticultural Institute of Taihoku University No. 1.)

Toxopeus, H.J. 1936. Die Züchtung von Unterlagen fur Citrus sinensis Osb. immun gegen Phytophthora parasitica, die Ursache der "gum-disease" in Java, Züchter 8: 1–10.



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Citrus ID Edition 2
October, 2011