Calamondin fruit is very tart to taste but sweet to look at. Click to download a large version (800x600).
The calamondin is a cold hardy citrus created by crossing a mandarin (Citrus reticulata, a.k.a. tangerine or satsuma), with a kumquat (Fortunella margarita), probably the Nagami kumquat. Since the parents are in different genera, the new genus name begins with the capital letter X, which is pronounced "the hybrid genus" (really!). See Floridata's What's in a Plant Name for more on how plants get their names for more esoterica on plant taxonomy.
Calamondin trees are rather small, bushy evergreens, with a dense crown. They usually have a few short spines on the branches. The leaves are 2-4 in (5-10 cm) long with winged petioles. The trees can get up to 10-20 ft (3-6 m) tall, but are usually smaller. The bright orange colored fruits are round, about 1.5 in (4 cm) across, and very sour.
Calamondin blossoms are fabulously fragrant and present on the tree for much of the year. Click to download a large version (800x600).
Kumquats and mandarins are native to eastern Asia. The calamondin was apparently first developed in the Philippines.
Culture Light: Calamondin trees can tolerate partial shade, but produce more flowers and fruit when grown in full sun. Moisture: Once established, most citrus trees are quite drought tolerant, but they should be watered deeply during prolonged dry periods. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8-11. The calamondin is one of the hardiest of all citrus trees. Propagation: Calamondins can be propagated by rooting soft wood cuttings in spring or semi-ripe cuttings in summer. They also are bud-grafted onto sour orange (Poncirus trifoliata) rootstock.
Calamondins grow well in containers both indoors and out. Boasting fragrant flowers and colorful fruit this plant is highly recommended.
The calamondin is an attractive ornamental evergreen tree, with fabulously fragrant "orange" blossoms in spring. The colorful fruits persist on the tree throughout winter. They can be used in drinks, as lemons or limes are used. Calamondins are often grown in containers, and make an attractive poolside or patio plant. If you live in zone 8B or colder, this is one of the very few citrus trees you can grow outside.
Features X Citrofortunella also includes the limequats, X C. floridana (Lakeland and Eustis limequats), and X C. swinglei (Tavares limequat), which are hybrids between the lime, Citrus aurantiifolia, and the Meiwa kumquat; and the lime and the Nagami kumquat, respectively.