Botanist's Glossary

Grapefruit - Citrus paradisi

  • Description
    • The grapefruit tree (Rutaceae family) is a small, evergreen tree, rather similar to the orange tree, with fragrant white flowers. It is a hybrid of the pomelo (Citrus grandis - Malaysia, Thailand, South-West China) and sweet orange tree (Citrus sinensis - Southern China). The grapefruit fruit, which has a diameter of 10 to 15 cm, was introduced into the South East United States at the beginning of the 19th century and has flourished in the region. Today, there are pale yellow and pink varieties, with flesh that can go from almost colorless to a garnet-red shade, and a flavor that ranges from bitter to sweet.
  • Traditions
    • The Royal Navy used pomelos from South East Asia to quench the thirst of sailors and prevent scurvy. Captain Shaddock of the East India company introduced pomelos to the West Indies in the 17th century. Shortly before 1750, the pomelo met the sweet orange and the two bore fruit. Pomelos are large fruits with a thick, often green-colored rind. They continue to be imported in the West, but are largely overshadowed by grapefruits.
  • Properties
    • We use the essential oil derived from distillation of the zest. It is antiseptic and softening. The water of the fruit is used for its toning and energizing properties.

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