Most plants, including the lemon tree (Citrus limon), are identified through their size, form, leaf, fruit and flower attributes. The lemon species is easily cultivated and hybridized, and many varieties are commercially productive. The lemon itself is a remarkable feature that’s easy to identify, however differences in other features also help identify one lemon tree from the other.
Lemon Tree Type, Leaf and Flower
The lemon tree is an evergreen species, growing 10 to 20 feet tall, usually with the open, spreading growth habit and lightly covered with foliage. The leaves have an elliptical shape, fine-toothed, waxy dark green on the top surface and light green underneath. The flower has five sepals, five petals, several pistils and a single stamen; the petals are white on the top surface and also pinkish-red on the other side. Citrus blossoms are fragrant; the caliber of the scent is an identifying characteristic in lemon types.
The lemon is really a berry (hesperidium), ranging in length from 2 3/4 inch into 4 3/4 inch. It’s ovoid in shape, covered with a peel ranging in color from light to deep yellow. Commercial growers often spray lemons with ethylene gas to encourage the yellow colour early in the season, but lemons may be ripe when the peel remains green. The juice content and taste of the lemon ranges from acidic to sweet, depending on the number.
Identifying Lemon Varieties
Slight differences in tree form, leaf colour and other features aid in comprehending a lemon tree variety. As an example, twigs on lemon tree branches are generally thorny, but the essence of the thorns is an identifiable attribute — C. limon “Lisbon” is notably thorny, while C. limon “Eureka” is nearly thornless. Leaves could have distinguishing attributes; “Pink Variegated Eureka” has white and green striped leaves. Compact or wax types are also keys to the identity of the tree.
Variations in Fruit
Lemon tree types have different qualities in the fruit that set them apart. “Lisbon” fruit includes a prominent nipple, while “Eureka” includes a small one. The texture of the peel is differs between lemon types; “Lisbon” is simpler than “Eureka” and also a “Meyer” lemon (Citrus x meyeri) is thin-skinned. The lemon of “Variegated Pink Eureka” is cream and green when it is immature, ripening to a light pink. “Meyer” is a deep yellow colour. Lemon varieties produce fruit of different sizes as well, with a few as large as grapefruits.