CITRUS, a genus of Aurantiaceous Plants, one of whose species yields the Orange, another the Lemon, and others the Citron, Shad dock, Limo, and similar fruits. Among the other genera of the natural order to which it belongs, it is known by its stamens being numerous and irregularly combined into several parcels, and by its fruit having a leathery rind which can be easily separated from the pulpy part that lies beneath.
It is a common opinion that the golden apples of the IIesperides were the fruit of some species of this germs; but as the gardens of these fabulous personages were stationed, according to the most approved opinions, either among the mountains of Atlas or to the west of them, there is no probability that the opinion alluded to is correct ; for, independently of the historical facts that citrons and lemons at least were obtained from the Persians, it is certain from the researches of Wallieh and other Indian botanists that it is among the lower ranges of hills in Nepaul, and most probably in China slim, that the wild states of the genus Citrus find a home. It is added that the Sweet Orange itself comes from the southern provinces of China and the Malayan Archipelago, but it is by no means clear that the plant in those countries is really wild. It is however beyond all ques tion also of eastern origin.
Eight species are enumerated by Risso, whom we follow in the present article : we regard it, however, as a matter of great doubt how far they are reallydistinet. The Orapge, the Lemon, the Lime, and the Citron were all that could be distinguished amongst the masa of specimens collected for the East India Company in Nepaul ; and there is no great difficulty in believing that all the numerous varieties now cultivated in every part of the temperate and tropical zones, both of the Old and New World, have in reality sprung from theme four original sources ; part of them being natural varieties obtained by long cultivation, and part being hybrids created by accidental circum stances or artificial means.
1. Citrus Aurantitim, the Sweet Orange (Or-anger of the French, Arancio of the Italians). Stern arboreacent. Leaves ovate-oblong, acute, a little scrrulated, with the stalk more or lees winged. Mowers
white. Fruit many-celled, roundish, very seldom pointed, golden yellow or tawny. Cysts in the rind convex. Pulp very sweet. The principal varieties of this species are : a. The China Orange, with ovate-oblong leaves ; round smooth rather flattened fruit ; and a thin golden-yellow rind. This is the Common Orange of the markets, and of the Portuguese.
b. The Pear-Shaped Orange, with elliptical acute leaves, and great top-shaped fruit, with a deep yellow smooth rind ; a rare and curious sort not known in the market ; it is one of the most capable of resisting cold.
c. The Orange of Nice, with ovate-acute leaves, and large, thick skinned, rough, dark-yellow, round fruit. This is considered one of the finest of the whole genus, both in regard to beauty, size, pro ductiveness, and quality. It is a good deal cultivated about the town whose name it bears.
d. The Tiny-Fruited Orange, with ovate-oblong acute leaves, tiny globose fruit, and a thin smooth golden-yellow rind. Supposed to have been brought from the Philippines. Tho fruit is more curious than beautiful or good.
e. The Fingered Orange, with little stiff leaves, and ovate fruit, some one at least of whose lobos is separate from the remainder, and horned ; rind pretty thick. This must not be confounded with the Fingered Citron hereafter to be mentioned.
f. The Blood-Red Orange, with ovate-oblong pellucid leaves, and middle-sized round rough reddish-yellow fruit, with a pulp irre gularly mottled with crimson. This, which is said to have come from the Philippines, was once lboked upon as a great curiosity, and living plants were purchased at a considerable price ; it was thought to be produced by grafting an orange upon a pomegranate. Now that it is known to be a variety of indifferent quality, and that its fabulous history is forgotten, it has ceased to attract much notice. A trifling variety of it is the Arancio di Sugo Rosso of the Italians, who call the real blood-red variety Arancio di Malti Sanguigno. Another variety, with small fruit, is the Arancio a Foglia Stretta of Nice.