Citron Cultivation, Production and Uses in the Mediterranean Region

Part of the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of the World book series (MAPW, volume 2)


The citron (Citrus medica L.) is one of the three primordial citrus fruit (the others being pummelo and mandarine) from which most other citrus originated. It is an evergreen tree, ranging in height from 3 to 5 m, with fruit borne on thorny branches in 2–3 waves during the year. The tree is relatively short-lived (up to 15–18 years) and is sensitive to many insects and soil diseases, as well as to high and low temperatures. Fruit range in size from 200 to 800 g, although they can grow much larger. Fruit attain their size while the peel is still green, and then ripen to yellow or even orange. Although raw citron peel and extracts are highly regarded in Asia for their many medicinal uses (ranging from Alzheimer’s to cancer to diabetes to ulcers to intestinal parasites) and as an insect repellent, the majority of fruit grown in the Mediterranean Basin are used for Jewish ritual during the autumn harvest festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles). Specific varieties of etrog (pl. etrogim), as such citrons are called, are grown under meticulous conditions of orchard care, harvest, and postharvest handling so that only fruit of the highest quality reach the religious market. Other uses for citrons in the Mediterranean region are as an ingredient in perfumes, as sweetened and/or brined peel for confectionery and baking, and as flavoring for candy and alcoholic beverages.


Etrog Succade Confectionery Perfume Flavoring Medicine Jewish ritual Alcohol Chilling-sensitive Mal secco 



I thank the citron growers Hagai Kirschenbaum and Eliezer Gorelik for always making time to answer my extensive questions, extension agent (retired) Asaf Aftabi for his interest and help, Naif Abu-Muammar for always being gracious in helping me in the orchards, and Rabbi LY Sofer for his great interest and encouragement in citron research. Publication 111/2013 of the Agricultural Research Organization-Volcani Center.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agricultural Research Organization-Volcani CenterInstitute of Plant SciencesBet DaganIsrael

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