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Citrus materials: Composition of Myrtle Leaf Orange

By: Francesco Gionfriddo, Enrico Postorino and Giuseppe Calabrò
Posted: April 4, 2006, from the April 2006 issue of P&F magazine.

The myrtle leaf orange is considered a botanical variety of the bitter orange (Citrus aurantium var. myrtifolia), but there are some who believe it either should a) be promoted to the rank of species (Citrus myrtifolia Raf., Tanaka Classifi cation), or b) be equated to the Citrus aurantium L. as a subspecies.

Plant: The plant is farmed in Italy, particularly in Liguria, near Savona, between Finale Ligure and Varazze, with an annual production of 20-30 quintals (about 4,400- 6,600 lbs); small orchards also are present in Sicily and Calabria. The plant has the appearance of a small bush with thornless branches loaded with small dark green elliptical leaves. The bush is characterized by limited growth of between 1-2 m. The fruit, picked between December and March, is spherical but rather fl at at the base; it has a very thin, fragrant skin of a color similar to that of the mandarin. Its endocarp, divided into eight to 10 segments, contains small seeds and a small quantity of bitter acidic juice.


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