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Citrus ID

 

Meyer Lemon

 

Synonyms

 

Dwarf Chinese, Grant, Lemonange (sec. Cottin 2002)

Cultivar or Taxon

 

Citrus 'Meyer' (sec. Mabberley 1997); Citrus meyeri Yu. Tanaka (sensu Hodgson 1967; sensu Tanaka sensu Cottin 2002)

Origin

 

Hodgson (1967) noted that:

"This fruit was found near Peking, China, by the plant explorer Frank N. Meyer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and introduced in 1908. Because of its obvious resemblances to the lemon and its suitability as a substitute for that fruit, it has come to be known as the Meyer lemon.

Introduced as a promising ornamental, it rapidly increased in popularity and soon fulfilled the most sanguine expectations. It has become one of the most widely used citrus fruits as a dooryard plant and is especially adapted for use potted or tubbed. Unfortunately, however, its use is currently banned in some citrus areas because of the hazard it is considered to present as a symptomless carrier of certain viruses, particularly tristeza. Virus-free clones, several of which are currently available, will doubtless replace those employed in the past and thus preserve this useful and attractive ornamental."

The Chiefland Budwood Facility (2010) provided the following notes on the cultivar (clone DPI-843-15): "Received budwood from the USDA for this selection.... Originally brought into the USA by Frank Meyer in 1908 who was a USDA plant explorer. Origin: China, also known as Peking lemon."

Description

 

Crown compact or dense, not weeping. First year twig surface glabrous, second or third year twig surface striate; thorns absent or not persistent or straight, prickles absent or not persistent. Petiole glabrous, length short, wings absent, if present, narrow, adjoining the blade. Leaflets one, margin bluntly toothed or serrate/serrulate, shade leaflet blades flat or weakly conduplicate, sun leaflet blades weakly conduplicate. Leaflets sweetly orange-like or freshly lemon-like when crushed. Fruit as broad as long or longer than broad, rind yellow (7-10), yellow-orange (11) or orange (12), rind texture smooth (1-3) or slightly rough (4-5), firmness leathery, navel absent, flesh yellow, taste sour.

Hodgson (1967) provided the following additional notes on the cultivar:

"Fruit medium in size, oblong to short elliptical, sometimes faintly ribbed; base rounded, sometimes faintly necked and radially furrowed; apex rounded or with low, broad nipple. Rind thin, soft; surface very smooth; tightly adherent; color yellowish-orange to orange. Segments about 10; axis small and solid. Flesh color light orange-yellow; tender, very juicy; lemon-flavored and acid. Moderately seedy. Crop distributed somewhat throughout the year but mainly in winter.

Tree moderately vigorous, small to medium in size, spreading, nearly thornless, hardy, and productive. Flowers and new shoot [sic] purple-tinted. More or less everflowering but mainly in spring."

The Chiefland Budwood Facility (2010) provided the following additional notes on the cultivar (clone DPI-843-15): "The fruit is round, yellow and more cold hardy than typical lemons....Description: Everflowering, mainly in spring, large size, smooth skin, lower acidity, more cold tolerant than other lemons, dooryard, fruit tender and juicy, moderately seedy (10), low spreading growth habit. Season: Fruit throughout the year, mainly winter, Nov-March"

Notes

 

Hodgson (1967) additionally noted that:

"The Meyer lemon compares favorably with the sweet orange for both cold and heat resistance and thus has a much wider range of climatic adaptation than either the common lemon or lime for which it is used as a substitute. The fruit is remarkably affected by climatic factors and differs greatly in appearance in different regions."

"Although acceptable as a lemon substitute for home use, the Meyer lemon has not proven satisfactory as a commercial variety for the fresh-fruit trade. The fruit is too tender and juicy to withstand handling, shipping, and storage without excessive waste. Moreover, it does not cure or color well during storage, nor is it acceptable to most consumers when lemons are available. As a consequence, it has failed to establish itself as a commercial variety of more than local importance anywhere. Meyer lemon was planted fairly extensively in Texas, South Africa, and New Zealand, but appears to have declined in favor since World War II. In Florida, however, some interest has been shown in it as a possible lemon substitute for local markets and for processing."

The Chiefland Budwood Facility (2010) provided the following notes on the cultivar (clone DPI-843-15): "It is a typical Meyer lemon type popular with homeowners."

References

 

Chiefland Budwood Facility. 2010. 2010 Annual report July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010. Bureau of Citrus Budwood Registration, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Winter Haven.

Cottin, R. 2002. Citrus of the World: A citrus directory. Version 2.0. France: SRA INRA-CIRAD.

Hodgson, R.W. 1967. Horticultural varieties of Citrus. In: Reuther, W., H.J. Webber, and L.D. Batchelor (eds.). The Citrus industry, rev. University of California Press. http://lib.ucr.edu/agnic/webber/Vol1/Chapter4.html.

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

Resources

 

Search for this cultivar in NPGS/GRIN1

Search for this cultivar in NCBI2 Entrez or NCBI Nucleotide

1GRIN: Germplasm Resources Information Network; NPGS: National Plant Germplasm System

2NCBI: National Center for Biotechnology Information

 

Citrus ID Edition 2
October, 2011
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