30 Different Types of Lemons (All Lemon Varieties) - PlantSnap

30 Different Types of Lemons (All Lemon Varieties)

by | Dec 16, 2020

Lemons have an extremely large number of uses. Their juice is used in drinks and desserts; their rind is used whole as a garnish; they can be distilled for their lemon oil. According to the National Agriculture Statistical Service, the United States farms roughly 54,000 acres of lemons – that’s almost 7% of the landmass of Rhode Island! But, lemons are traditionally sold in US supermarkets simply as “lemons.” Today, let’s take a look at the wide variety of lemon types and better understand their biology.

 

Lemon “Species”

 

All true lemons are variants of the species Citrus limon (citrus x limon). This species contains dozens of established varieties, and it likely contains hundreds of wild hybrids. For simplicity’s sake, fruits that are not technically C. limon are usually grouped together under the common heading of “lemon” and referred to as “not true” lemons. Our list includes mostly “true” lemons.

Some of the “not true” lemons include hybrids with other citrus fruits. Here is a shortlist of some of the common species with which lemons are crossed.

  • Key Lime, Citrus aurantiifolia
  • Citrons, Citrus medica
  • Mandarin Oranges, Citrus reticulata
  • Kumquat, Citrus japonica

 

 

Lisbon

 

  • Morphology: When most people think of a “lemon,” the Lisbon is what they think of. This is often sold at grocery stores and supermarkets and is one of the most popular varieties.
  • Native Region: South Asia, but grown throughout the world. 
  • Growing area: USDA Hardiness Zones 9-10
  • Water and Sun Needs: This tree requires full sun and adequate water. Especially during its first year, a Lisbon tree should be watered 3-4 times per week.

 

Eureka

 

  • Morphology: These lemons look like “normal” lemons. They also contain very few seeds, making them ideal for juicing. 
  • Native Region: Many different regions of South Asia
  • Growing Area: Zones 8-10
  • Water and Sun Needs: Full sun and water on the dry side – soil-dependent

 

Bearss Lemons

 

  • Morphology: This lemon is very similar to the “Lisbon” variety. Its fruit measures roughly 3-4 inches across.
  • Native Region: According to Purdue University, the Bearss lemon tree is “a seedling believed to have been planted in 1892, discovered in the Bearss grove near Lutz, Florida, about 1952.”
  • Growing area: Zones 8-12
  • Water and Sun Needs: This variety is accustomed to a humid environment. As such, if you plan to grow it in a drier climate, it will need considerably more water. 

 

Pink Variegated Lemons

 

Pink Variegated

 

  • Morphology: The skin of the lemon is rough and often green striped. The flesh appears very similar to a grapefruit.
  • Native Region: This mutant was discovered in the 1930s in Burbank, California.
  • Growing Area: Zones 8-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: Full sun, 6-8 hours per day. This lemon tree should be watered more frequently, 2-3 times per week.

 

Meyer

 

  • Morphology: These fruits are considerably more round than true lemons. Their flavor is also different from a true lemon, almost a cross between a lemon and a mandarin sweet orange. Meyer lemons also have smooth skin, unlike a lot of other lemons. 
  • Native Region: China
  • Growing area: Zones 8-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: Meyer lemon trees have fairly sunny needs, around 6 hours of light per day is ideal. Watering is typical for lemon trees: 2-3 times per week.

 

 

Primofiori

 

  • Morphology: Primofioris look similar to Lisbons, but are slightly more oval with a more pronounced nipple.
  • Native Region: The origination of this varietal is unknown, but it likely is Spanish.
  • Growing area: Zones 8-12
  • Water and Sun Needs: Full sun, and the primofiori needs less water than many of its cousins. Around fruiting time (January to April) it may require almost twice as much water, though.

 

Verna

 

  • Morphology: These can grow to be considerably larger than Eureka lemons, sometimes stretching to almost twice the size. 
  • Native Region: This varietal hails from Spain.
  • Growing area: Zones 9-12
  • Water and Sun Needs: Verna lemon trees require just as much sun as other lemons (6-8 hours), but they require much more water. They are native to the Mediterranean, so make sure to water these trees 4-5 times per week.

 

Buddha’s Hand Lemons

 

Buddha’s Hand Lemons

 

  • Morphology: These may be the craziest looking lemons on our list. They are not oval-shaped like most members of the citrus family. Instead, Buddha’s Hand lemons have a circular core from which fingerlings of the lemon project out. 
  • Native Region: China
  • Growing area: Zones 8-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: This varietal requires less water than its counterparts. Shoot for once per week and see if the soil is still dry.

 

Bush

 

  • Morphology: Bush lemons look like wrinkly, old lemons. Their skin has a bubbly, mottled appearance.
  • Native Region: China, but most commonly grown in Australia.
  • Growing area: This lemon variety is not frost resistant, and thus grows well in zones 9-11.
  • Water and Sun Needs: 6+ hours of sun is recommended. This type of lemon tree also takes well to a large pot, so if grown indoors it should be placed in a very sunny room.

 

Avon

 

  • Morphology: Also known as “avalon lemons,” this lemon is very visually similar to the Eureka, and it is primarily used for making lemon juice concentrates.
  • Native Region: This variety was first noticed in Arcadia, Florida as a budded tree.
  • Growing area: Zones 8-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: Full sun and moderate-to-heavy watering

 

 

Citron Lemons (Citrus medica)

 

  • Morphology: To be clear, Citron lemons are not actual lemons. Other lemons are all varieties of the Citrus limon, whereas citrons are citrus medica. That said, they are strikingly similar to true lemons, but they bear a slightly tangier, orange flavor, full of vitamin C. Because of this, they are sometimes called “sour oranges.”
  • Native Region: The area of origin is unknown, although believed to be northern India.
  • Growing area: Due to being a different species, C. medica has a substantially different growing region in zones 10-12. 
  • Water and Sun Needs: More similar to true lemons, citrons require full sun (8 hours) and light-to-moderate watering. 

 

Dorshapo

 

  • Morphology: This lemon variety is related to the Eureka lemon, but is green in appearance. 
  • Native Region: Created by three US horticulturalists in the early 20th century: Palemon Dorsett, Archibald Shamel, and Wilson Popenoe. The name is a combination of their last names.
  • Growing area: Zones 8-10
  • Water and Sun Needs: Full sun and moderate water. 

 

Greek Citron

 

Greek Citron

 

  • Morphology: This variety of citron is visually similar to the Buddha’s hand lemon. Its flesh is rather sour and thus is mainly used for its candied peel. 
  • Native Region: Greece
  • Growing area: Zones 8-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: This lemon can be very picky. It needs very well-draining soil and medium watering.

 

Ponderosa

 

  • Morphology: Another example of a hybrid, the ponderosa is a cross between C. limon and C. medica. It has the characteristically wrinkly skin of citrons. 
  • Native Region: According to the University of California, “This variety originated about 1887 as seedling grown by George Bowman of Hagerstown, Maryland.”
  • Growing area: Zones 9-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: This varietal is particularly sensitive to frost. Make sure to cover your outdoor plants and keep indoor plants in full sun.

 

Baboon

 

  • Morphology: These lemons grow to almost twice the size of Eureka lemons. They have a deep yellow rind that is usually slightly wrinkled.
  • Native Region: Brazil
  • Growing area: Zones 9-12
  • Water and Sun Needs: These are slightly more heat resistant than other lemon varieties, but they still require ample amounts of water.

 

 

Bonnie Brae

 

  • Morphology: The Bonnie Brae is a historical lemon, of sorts. First cultivated in the mid 19th century in Southern California, it was very popular at the turn of the century. Few trees are thought to exist today.
  • Native Region: Southern California
  • Growing area: Likely, zones 8-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: While these trees are almost impossible to buy, they likely still survive wildly in Southern California. They require a ton of direct sun and moderate water.

 

Santa Teresa

 

  • Morphology: These are an Italian hybrid lemon. They are commonly used to make the Italian dish, limoncello. 
  • Native Region: Italy
  • Growing area: Zones 8-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: They are hardy, disease-resistant lemons that can survive well in cooler climates. They still require full sun and ample water, though. 

 

Genoa

 

  • Morphology: This lemon is “difficult” to distinguish from the Eureka lemon. It is considerably more cold hardy. 
  • Native Region: Genoa, California
  • Growing area: Zones 8-12
  • Water and Sun Needs: As a native Italian tree, it requires full sun and water 2-3 times per week when young.

 

Interdonato Lemon

 

Interdonato

 

  • Morphology: This lemon-citron hybrid is slightly sweeter than a “typical” lemon and is sometimes referred to as a “sweet lemon.” Generally, interdonatos are also slightly larger and more oblong. 
  • Native Region: According to the University of California, this lemon has quite a history. It is “said to have originated about 1875 on the property of a Colonel Interdonato in Nizza, Sicily.”
  • Growing area: Zones 8-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: The Interdonato requires 6-8 hours of sun per day and water 3-4 times a week.

 

Jhambiri

 

  • Morphology: These are also known as the “rough lemon” – and for good reason! It is considerably more sour than Eureka. 
  • Native Region: Northern India
  • Growing area: Zones 9-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: Depending on the specific variety, these citrus trees are usually fairly drought-tolerant. They still require full sun, though. 

 

Lamas

 

  • Morphology: This variety is particularly interesting. It is experimental and exists only at the University of California, but produces lemon-like fruit when grafted to Ponderosa lemons. 
  • Native Region: Incel, Turkey
  • Growing area: Zones 9-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: Although this variety is not commercially available, Lamas likely have similar sun and water needs to other citrus varieties: 8+ hours and moderate water.

 

 

Lapithkiotiki

 

  • Morphology: This is a rather famous lemon grown very common in Cyprus. They are visually similar to Eureka lemons and are very fragrant. 
  • Native Region: Cyprus
  • Growing area: This is another lemon that thrives in an odd climate. Cyprus practically experiences temperatures below freezing, so Lapithkiotiki lemons grow well in zones 9-12.
  • Water and Sun Needs: These need a ton of sun! 8+ hours per day will be sufficient with moderate watering. 

 

Lemonade

 

  • Morphology: This may sound like a misnomer, but the lemonade lemon is an actual variety. It is a cross between the normal lemon species and Citrus reticulata, or the mandarin orange.
  • Native Region: New Zealand
  • Growing area: Zones 9-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: This plant’s needs are a cross between its parents: it requires slightly less sun (6 hours) than lemons, but slightly more water than mandarin oranges. 

 

Assam Lemons

 

Assam

 

  • Morphology: Also known as Nepali Oblong, these lemons are slightly more acidic than Eureka lemons and contain more juice. 
  • Native Region: China and Nepal
  • Growing area: Zones 10-12
  • Water and Sun Needs: This variety may need more water than other typical Eureka-type lemons, depending on soil type.

 

Perrine

 

  • Morphology: This is a lemon-lime hybrid. Its parentage consists of a West Indian lime and a Genoa lemon. As such, it is slightly less acidic than most lemon varieties.
  • Native Region: According to the University of California, “Perrine originated as a hybrid made by W. T. Swingle and associates of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1909.”
  • Growing area: Zones 8-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: Due to the similarity in lemon and lime growing conditions, perrine lemons require 6-8 hours of sunlight and moderate watering.

 

Villafranca

 

  • Morphology: By vision and taste, this lemon is indistinguishable from Eureka lemons. They are separated by different growing and fruiting seasons. While not quite seedless, villafranca lemons have very few seeds.
  • Native Region: South Asia
  • Growing area: Zones 8-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: Almost the exact same as Eureka lemons, 6-8 hours of sunlight and moderate watering

 

 

Volkamer (Volkamer Lemons)

 

  • Morphology: These lemons aren’t even half lemon! They are a cross between citrons and mandarin oranges. But, they taste somewhat similar to Eureka lemons. 
  • Native Region: First cultivated in California
  • Growing area: Zones 8-12
  • Water and Sun Needs: This variety needs considerably more water, likely due to its odd parentage. In some soils, they need water 4-5 times per week.

 

Yen Ben

  • Morphology: Yen Ben lemons can be thought of as an offshoot from the Lisbon lemon. It tends to be slightly more productive and juicy than the Lisbon.
  • Native Region: The original rootstock hails from Australia
  • Growing area: Zones 8-12
  • Water and Sun Needs: Identical to the Lisbon: tree should be watered 3-4 times per week.

 

Lumia Lemons

 

Lumia

 

  • Morphology: This is another hybrid, and it appears like a cross between a lemon and a pear. It has very thick skin.
  • Native Region: South Asia
  • Growing area: Zones 9-11
  • Water and Sun Needs: The lumia has typical C. limon needs. It requires 8 hours and moderate watering.

 

Otaheite

 

  • Morphology: This lemon is often called an “acidless orange.” It has the flavor profile of a lemon but lacks almost all of the characteristic acidity.
  • Native Region: India
  • Growing area: Zones 10-13
  • Water and Sun Needs: This tree will suck up almost all the water you can give it. Watering 5+ times per week may not be excessive.

 

Lemon Discovery

 

Now that you know that this variety exists within lemons – you can search for it. Farmer’s markets and specialty produce stores will often differentiate between these different varieties of lemons, so feel free to experiment with which ones work best with your favorite recipe or dish.

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