Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 1069 Citrus maxima

Common Names: pummelo, pommelo,shaddock,pumelo,pomelo Family: Rutaceae (citrus Family)

pummelo
Pummelo variety 'Hirado Butan' has pink flesh.
pummelo fruit sections
These white fleshed 'Ora Blanca' fruit sections are ready to be enjoyed.

Description

Description
If you know what a grapefruit is, you're half way to knowing the pummelo. The grapefruit (Citrus X paradisi) is a hybrid species that was created by crossing a sweet orange (C. sinensis) with a pummelo. Like the fruit of the grapefruit, the pummelo fruit is large and has a yellow rind. It tastes like a grapefruit, only sweet instead of sour, and not quite as juicy. The flesh may be white, yellowish or pink. The pummelo rind is much thicker than a grapefruit's, and the fruit is larger, averaging 6-9 in (15-22 cm) and even up to 12 in (30 cm) in diameter. Fruits average around 2-4 lbs (1-2 kg), and some can weigh as much as 20 lbs (9 kg)! The tree has a rounded crown and can reach 15-20 ft (4.5-6 m) in height. The evergreen leaves tend to be a little larger (4-8 in; 10-20 cm) than those of the grapefruit and the orange. The white blossoms are as fragrant as any citrus and just as popular with the honeybees. The most popular cultivar in the U.S. is 'Chandler', which has pink flesh. 'Ora Blanca' is a hybrid (technically, a "backcross") between the grapefruit and the pummelo, and has white flesh. It may be more cold hardy than some other varieties.

pummello
Pummelo trees bear fruit while still quite small.

Location

The pummelo, Citrus maxima, is native to Polynesia and the Malay Peninsula. It is a very popular food in southern China, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. In the U.S., pummelo is grown primarily as an ornamental or novelty.

Culture

Light: Best production occurs in full sun, but most citrus varieties can tolerate partial shade, especially the thin shade from tall trees. Moisture: Like other citrus species, pummelo needs at least 40-45 in (100 - 112 cm) of water per year. Additional irrigation during the period of flowering and fruit development will improve production. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 10. Pummelo can tolerate temperatures a little below freezing, but will probably be killed if the temperature falls below 22º F (-6º C) for more than a few hours. They are currently being grown in Zone 8B, with protection during the coldest spells. Propagation: Like most citrus species and cultivars, the seeds of pummelo will come true (i.e., produce plants exactly like the mother tree). However, also like most citrus, pummelos are usually grafted onto rootstocks chosen for specific features, such as disease resistance, cold tolerance, or soil type. The rootstocks used are usually 2-3 year old seedlings and the scion (the top part that is grafted onto the rootstock) usually produces fruit within just 2 or 3 years after grafting. Plants grown from seed on their on roots may take 5-7 years to fruit. In Florida, pummelos are often grafted onto trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata) seedlings which provide increased cold hardiness and improved growth in sandy soils.
pummelo trees
Young pummelo trees awaiting sale at the nursery.
pummelo tree
In just a couple of years small nursery trees like the above will begin bearing.

Usage

The pummelo fruit is a little less juicy than a grapefruit, but very tasty, and only slightly acidic. It is a very popular fruit in Southeast Asia. The peel is candied, used in cooking, and sometimes made into marmalade. With a grapefruit, you can cut the fruit in half and spoon out the sections; this just doesn't work with a pummelo. The best way to get at the edible part is to score the thick rind into quarters with a knife, then peel the rind away to expose the sections. You will still have to remove seeds and the "connective tissue" around the sections. Our friend Candy reports that in Thailand you can buy a package of 5-6 completely cleaned sections for less than a dollar. She has observed groups of people in the evening cleaning and packaging the fruits for sale the next day. Pummelo is the source of the sweetener known as bitter narinjin, used in candies and drinks, and, notably, in the NASA-inspired breakfast drink, Tang™.

Features

The pummelo fruit is the largest in the citrus family. The tree makes an interesting landscape element, and is sure to attract attention when in fruit. In addition to being a parent of the grapefruit, the pummelo is a grandparent of the tangelo (C. X tangelo), which is a cross between the mandarin (C. reticulata) and the grapefruit (Citrus X paradisi).

Steve Christman 1/6/08; updated 4/30/09



Master Plant List

Click here to find plants in our Encyclopedia using the Master Plant List grid. Use this widget to search, sort and filter Floridata's plant database to easily locate Plant Profile pages. Use the dropdown menus to filter the grid to display items matching the selected Plant Type and Feature tags.

Plant Type Tags

tree icon
shrub icon
palm
perennial plant icon
aquatic plant icon
cactus and succulents icon
grass icon
vine icon

Feature Tags

Attracts Birds
Attracts butterflies
Attracts Hummingbirds
Edible Plants
Cutting and Arranging
medicinal
for pots and containers
indoors
shade
drought tolerant plants
grows in wet soils
flowers
ornamental fruits
fall color
foliage plants
evergreen
easy to grow plants
fast growing

Site Search

Use Google to search all of the pages on Floridata including the Plant Profile pages




Citrus species profiled on Floridata:


Citrus X paradisi

( grapefruit )

Citrus maxima

( pummelo, pommelo,shaddock,pumelo,pomelo )

Citrus meyeri

( Meyers lemon, improved Meyer lemon, Chinese dwarf lemon, Chinese dwarf lemon, dwarf lemon )

Citrus reticulata

( mandarin, satsuma, tangerine )

Citrus sinensis

( sweet orange, navel orange )

Citrus x limonia

( Rangpur lime, mandarin lime, lemandarin )

Copyright 2015 Floridata.com LLC