Genetic variation of Citrus and related genera with ornamental potential


The interest in Citrus and related genera as ornamental plants has increased in recent years, motivating studies aimed at identifying genotypes, varieties and hybrids suitable for this purpose. The Citrus Active Germplasm Bank of the Embrapa Cassava & Fruits, a research unit of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation—Embrapa, contains more than 750 accessions with wide genetic variability, and their utilization for ornamental purposes is the objective of this study. For this purpose, we characterized 37 accessions with ornamental potential, classified in four categories for use in floriculture: potted plants, minifruit, hedges and landscaping. Through the use of 39 quantitative and qualitative morphological descriptors, the following accessions stood out for use landscaping and as potted plants: ‘Variegated’ calamondin, ‘Nasnaran’ mandarin, ‘Chinotto’ orange, ‘Trifoliate limeberry’, ‘Papeda Kalpi’, ‘Talamisan’ orange, ‘Wart Java’ lime, and ‘Chinese box-orange’, besides accessions of the genera Fortunella, Poncirus and Microcitrus. Among the accessions identified as having potential for use as minifruit plants, the common ‘Sunki’ mandarin was the most suitable, and in the hedge category, ‘Chinese box-orange’ and ‘Trifoliate limeberry’ stood out. The results obtained provide information to support citrus breeding programs for ornamental purposes.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5



Citrus active germplasm bank


Unweighted pair group method using an arithmetic average


  1. Araújo ARG, Salibe AA (2002) Caracterização físico-morfológica de frutos de microtangerinas (Citrus spp.) de potencial utilização como porta-enxertos. Rev Bras Frutic 24:618–621. doi:10.1590/S0100-29452002000300009

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Barrett HC, Rhodes AM (1976) A numerical taxonomic study of affinity relationships in cultivated Citrus and its close relatives. Syst Bot 1:105–136

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bastianel M, Dornelles ALC, Machado MA, Wickert E, Maraschin SF, Coletta Filho HD, Schäfer G (2001) Caracterização de genotypes de Citrus spp. através de marcadores RAPD. Ciênc Rural 31:763–768. doi:10.1590/S0103-84782001000500004

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bizzo HR (2009) Brazilian essential oils: general view, developments and perspectives. Quím Nova 32:588–594. doi:10.1590/S0100-40422009000300005

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Cruz CD (2006) Programa GENES: análise multivariada e simulação. UFV, Viçosa

    Google Scholar 

  6. Del Bosco SF (2003) The use for ornamental purposes of an ancient Citrus genotype. Acta Hortic 598:65–67

    Google Scholar 

  7. Development Core Team R (2006) A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna

    Google Scholar 

  8. Donadio LC, Mourão Filho FAA, Moreira CS (2005) Centros de origem, distribuição geográfica das plantas cítricas e histórico da citricultura no Brasil. In: Mattos Júnior D, De Negri JD, Pio RM, Pompeu Junior J (eds) Citros. Instituto Agronômico e Fundag, Campinas, pp 1–18

    Google Scholar 

  9. FAO (2015) FAOSTAT. Agricultural statistics database. World Agricultural Information Center, 2009 Rome. Accessed 4 Jan 2015

  10. Gower JC (1971) A general coefficient of similarity and some of its properties. Biometrics 27:857–874

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Hodgson RW (1967) The botany of Citrus and its wild relatives. In: Reuther W, Webber HJ, Batchelor LD (eds) The citrus industry. University of California, Riverside

    Google Scholar 

  12. IPGRI—International Plant Genetic Resources Institute. Descriptors for Citrus. Rome: IBPGR (1999). Accessed 8 May 2012

  13. Koehler-Santos P, Dornelles ALC, Freitas LB (2003) Characterization of mandarin citrus germplasm from Southern Brazil by morphological and molecular analyses. Pesq Agrop Bras 38:797–806. doi:10.1590/S0100-204X2003000700003

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Lanjouw J (1961) International code of botanical nomenclature. Adopted by the Ninth International Botanical Congress (Montreal, 1959). Utrecht, 1961

  15. Mazzini RB, Pio RM (2010) Morphological characterization of six citrus varieties with ornamental potential. Rev Bras Frutic 32:463–470. doi:10.1590/S0100-29452010005000043

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Nicolosi E, Deng ZN, Gentile A, La Malfa S, Continella G, Tribulato E (2000) Citrus phylogeny and genetic origin of important species as investigated by molecular markers. Theor Appl Genet 100:1155–1166. doi:10.1007/s001220051419

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Rohlf FJ, Fisher DR (1968) Tests for hierarchical structure in random data sets. Syst Biol 17:407–412. doi:10.1093/sysbio/17.4.407

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. SAS Institute (2010) SAS user’s guide: statistic: version 9.2. SAS Institute, Cary

    Google Scholar 

  19. Saunt J (1990) Citrus varieties of the world: an illustrated guide. Sinclair International, Norwich

    Google Scholar 

  20. Silva KT (1995) Development of essential oil industries in developing countries. In: Silva KT (ed) A manual on the essential oil industry. United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Vienna, pp 1–13

    Google Scholar 

  21. Singh D (1981) The relative importance of characters affecting genetic divergence. Indian J Genet Plant Breed 41:237–245

    Google Scholar 

  22. Soares Filho WS, Cunha Sobrinho AP, Passos OS, Souza AS (2013) Melhoramento genético. In: Cunha Sobrinho AP, Magalhães AFJ, Souza AS, Passos OS, Soares Filho WS (eds) Cultura dos citros. Embrapa, Brasília, pp 61–102

    Google Scholar 

  23. Soares Filho WS, Souza U, Ledo CAS, Santana LGL, Passos OS (2014) Polyembryony and potential of hybrid production in citrus. Rev Bras Frutic 36:950–956. doi:10.1590/0100-2945-345/13

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1962) The comparison of dendrograms by objective methods. Taxon 11:33–40

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Soost RK, Roose ML (1996) Citrus. In: Janick J, Moore JN (eds) Fruit breeding; tree and tropical fruits. Wiley, New York, pp 257–323

    Google Scholar 

  26. Souza EH, Costa MAPC, Souza FVD, Costa DS Jr, Amorim EP, Silva SO, Santos-Serejo JA (2012a) Genetic variability of banana with ornamental potential. Euphytica 184:355–367. doi:10.1007/s10681-011-0553-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Souza EH, Souza FVD, Costa MAPC, Costa DS Jr, Santos-Serejo JA, Amorim EP, Ledo CAS (2012b) Genetic variation of the Ananas genus with ornamental potential. Genet Resour Crop Evol 59:1357–1376. doi:10.1007/s10722-011-9763-9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Swingle WT (1967) The botany of Citrus and its wild relatives. In: Reuther W, Webber HJ, Batchelor LD (eds) The citrus industry. University of California, Berkeley, pp 190–430

    Google Scholar 

  29. Tamura K, Dudley J, Nei M, Kumar S (2007) MEGA4: molecular evolutionary genetics analysis (MEGA) software version 4.0. Mol Biol Evol 24:1596–1599. doi:10.1093/molbev/msm092

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Tanaka T (1961) Citrologia. Semi-centennial commemoration papers on citrus studies. Citrologia Supporting Foundation, Osaka

    Google Scholar 

  31. USDA (2014) ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network—(GRIN). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Accessed 12 Feb 2014

  32. Velasco R, Licciardello C (2014) A genealogy of the citrus family. Nature 32:640–642. doi:10.1038/nbt.2954

    CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors acknowledge the support of Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico—CNPq (472492/2011-0), and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) for the scholarships granted. We also thank the researcher Orlando Sampaio Passos, curator of the Citrus Active Germplasm Bank of Embrapa Cassava & Fruits, and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Walter dos Santos Soares Filho.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

dos Santos, A.R.A., de Souza, E.H., Souza, F.V.D. et al. Genetic variation of Citrus and related genera with ornamental potential. Euphytica 205, 503–520 (2015).

Download citation


  • Fruits
  • Floriculture
  • Genetic diversity
  • Morphological descriptors
  • Ornamental plants
  • Pre-breeding