Mystery of the forbidden fruit: Historical epilogue on the origin of the grapefruit,Citrus paradisi (Rutaceae)

Abstract

Attempts by the early colonial settlers of Barbados to plant orchards of shaddock (pummelo,Citrus grandis) from seedlings gave rise to the grapefruit(C. paradisi), an apomictic hybrid. Early botanists misidentified the grapefruit as a variety of shaddock, confusing it with a second hybrid growing on Jamaica. The botanist who first named the species, James Macfadyen, is shown here to have described the wrong fruit as a result of such misidentifications. Citrus historians of the 20th century have been unable to confirm the existence of a legendary Captain Shaddock, said to have brought the first seeds of the shaddock to Barbados. The present authors have found a basis for the legend, identifying a Captain Chaddock who traded in the West Indies in the 17th century. In addition, they have rectified the misidentifications of the grapefruit by early botanists that have confused the literature up to the present.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Literature Cited

  1. Bears, J. T. 1898. The pomelo. Pacific (CA) Rural Press 55:148.

  2. Browne, P. 1756. The civil and natural history of Jamaica. Osborne, London.

  3. —. 1789. The civil and natural history of Jamaica, 2nd ed. White and Son, London.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Cooper, W. 1982. In search of the Golden Apple, p. 122. Vantage Press, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Grainger, J. 1822. The British poets, vol. LIX, p. 36. Whittingham, London (Chiswick).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Hodgson, R. W. 1967. Horticultural varieties of citrus.In W. Reuther, L. D. Batchelor, and H. J. Webber, eds., The citrus industry I, rev. ed., chap. 4. Univ. California Press, Berkeley.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Hughes, G. 1750. The natural history of Barbados, book V. Printed for the author, London. (Reprinted in 1972 by Arno Press, New York.)

    Google Scholar 

  8. Hume, H. H. 1926. The cultivation of citrus fruits. Macmillan, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Lefroy, J. H. 1932. Memorials of the discovery and early settlement of the Bermudas or Somers Islands, vol. II, 1515–1685, p. 9, 13, 84. Bermuda Government Library.

  10. Lunan, J. 1814. Hortus Jamaicensis, vol. 2, p. 171–173. St. Jago de la Vega Gaz., Spanish Town, Jamaica.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Macfadyen, J. 1830. Some remarks on the species of the genusCitrus which are cultivated in Jamaica. Bot. Misc. 1:295–304.

    Google Scholar 

  12. —. 1837. The flora of Jamaica; a description of the plants of that island, p. 131–132. Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, London.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Maycock, J. D. 1830. Flora Barbadensis: a catalogue of plants, indigenous, naturalized, and cultivated in Barbados. James Ridgway, London.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Merrill, E. D., and H. A. Lee. 1924. A consideration of the speciesCitrus maxima (Burm.) Merrill. Amer. J. Bot. 11:382–384.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Reed, J. 1690. Sloan Ms. 4070, 17. These are the names of the sortes of plants which groweth in Barbados, collected and gathered for the King’s use, by James Reed, gardener. British Museum, London.

  16. Robinson, T. R. 1952. Grapefruit and pummelo. Econ. Bot. 6:228–245.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Sainsbury, W. N., ed. 1860. Calendar of state papers, colonial series 1574–1660, I, p. 323. Public Record Office, London.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Schouten, W. 1676. Oost Indische voyagie. J. Meurs, t’ Amsterdam.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Schultzen, W. (cf. Schouten). 1676. Ost Indische reyse. J. von Meurs and J. von Sommern, Amsterdam.

  20. Scora, R. W. and J. Kumamoto. 1983. Chemotaxonomy of the genusCitrus.In P. G. Waterman and M. F. Grundon, eds., Chemistry and chemical taxonomy of the Rutales, chap. 13. Academic Press, London.

    Google Scholar 

  21. —, —, R. K. Soost, and E. M. Nauer. 1982. Contribution to the origin of the grapefruit,Citrus paradisi (Rutaceae). Syst. Bot. 7:170–177.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Sloane, H. 1696. Catalogue plantarum quae in insula Jamaica sponte proveniunt, p. 208–212. Brown, London.

    Google Scholar 

  23. —. 1707. A Voyage to the islands of Madeira, Barbados, Nieves, St. Christophers, and Jamaica. Printed by British Museum for the author, London.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Swingle, W. T. 1943. The botany of citrus and its wild relatives of the orange subfamily (family Rutaceae, subfamily Aurantioideae).In H. J. Webber and L. D. Batchelor, eds., The citrus industry I, p. 418. Univ. California Press, Berkeley.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Tolkowsky, S. 1938. Hesperides. John Bale, Sons and Curnow, London. Tussac, Le Chevalier F. R. de. 1824. Flore des Antilles 3, p. 73-74. L’auteur, Paris.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Van Deman, V. F. 1890. Riverside (CA) Daily Press, Sept. 25, p. 1, col. 1.

  27. Watts, D. 1966. Man’s influence on the vegetation of Barbados, 1627 to 1800. Univ. Hull, Yorkshire, England.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Webber, H. J., W. Reuther, and H. W. Lawton. 1967. History and development of the citrus industry.In W. Reuther, L. D. Batchelor, and H. J. Webber, eds., The citrus industry I, rev. ed., chap. I. Univ. California Press, Berkeley.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Yule, H., and A. C. Burnell. 1903. Hobson-Jobson; a glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological, historical, geographical and discursive. Rutledge and Kegan Paul, London.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to W. A. Clerx.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kumamoto, J., Scora, R.W., Lawton, H.W. et al. Mystery of the forbidden fruit: Historical epilogue on the origin of the grapefruit,Citrus paradisi (Rutaceae). Econ Bot 41, 97–107 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02859356

Download citation

Keywords

  • Economic Botany
  • Sweet Orange
  • Pollen Parent
  • Sour Orange
  • Orange Tree