Characteristics of grapefruit plant

What is a grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) ?

Characteristics of grapefruit

Common English name: Grapefruit

See common name in other languages

Scientific name: Citrus x paradisi Macfad

The general opinion is that grapefruit is a hybrid fruit that was formed by a cross betwen the orange (Citrus sinensis) and Pomelo, also called pumelo or shaddock (Citrus maxima), a tree that produces a kind of old and monstrous lemon that can weigh up to 10 kg, with an average weight of about 4.5 kilograms.

MacFayden James, in his book Flora of Jamaica, called grapefruit a different species of shaddock for the first time in 1837.

Family. Rutaceae. Within the family of Rutaceae, plants belonging to genus Citrus, such as grapefruit, lemon or orange, are the most popular plants.

Grapefruit description

grapefruit tree

Grapefruit tree with fruits

Grapefruits are the fruits of grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) an evergreen tree of Rutaceae family up to 8 m high.

Grape fruit has erect stems and branches usually with spines.

Leaves ovate, bright green, darker above, up to 15 cm long with a broadly winged petiole.

Grapefruit flowers appear solitary or in clusters, rather large.

Grapefruit fruit is a hesperidium, 10 to 15 cm in diameter, sour, juicy, more rounded than orange. Yellow skin, leathery, smooth and mottled.

Although primitive varieties have many seeds, those which are sold today have few or almost none.

Different types of grapefruits

Although the most common variety has a yellowish greenish pulp, other varieties can offer pink, red or white pulp, with different degrees of acidity and sweetness. (More information about grapefruit varieties)

History of grapefruit. Where to find grapefruits?


A detail of the fruit of Grapefruit

The origin of grapefruit is centered in the East Indies and Polynesia, as it has been reported by many writers and botanists of early nineteenth century in places like Jamaica, the Bahamas or Tahiti.

From these areas, it spread to many hot climate countries like the southern United States (Florida, Texas and California), Brazil, Israel, Mexico, Argentina, Greece, Spain, South Africa, etc.

Where can it be cultivated?

Its cultivation requires a suitable climate, being the best a subtropical one with warm temperatures in order for the fruits to ripen faster (They take about 6 or 7 months).

Adequate temperatures are also necessary so as fruits to have a thinner skin and a less acidic pulp.

In not so warm places, grapefruit fruits need more than a year to mature and develop thicker skins and a pulp with a higher level of acidity. They also prefer slightly acidic soil.

Propagation, as in the rest of citrus, is made by cuttings. Liable to many diseases such as tristeza virus, gummosis, psoriasis, bold, etc.., they are also prone to attack by many pests (mites, birds, aphids, thrips, lice, etc..)


Edible uses of grapefruit

Grapefruits are grown primarily for consumption, mainly in the following ways:

  • Grapefruit as a raw fruit: They can be eaten directly, provided that they are sweeten with honey or sugar to neutralize its high degree of acidity.
  • Grapefruit juice: More common is consuming their flesh squeezed juice, especially enhanced for the so famous “lemon diet” for diuretic, remineralizing and slimming purposes. (See more information on this diet ).
  • Grapefruit vinegar, syrups or jams: Besides being eaten as a fruit or for its juice, many edible products are made from this fruit, such as grapefruit vinegar, syrups or jams.
  • Grapefruit seeds vegetable oil: We can obtain vegetable oil from grapefruit seeds. This must be refined to become a high quality oil, very similar to olive oil and, highly recommended for human consumption.
  • Grapefruit seed extract: We should also mention the grapefruit seed extract, a product with bacterial, fungal and antiparasitic properties, widely used as a folk remedy.
  • Grapefruit as fodder for livestock: In animal nutrition, grapefruit waste is converted into molasses, which are used as an ingredient for fodder. Grapefruit skins, once purified, can feed livestock.

Industrial uses of grapefruit

  • Thickeners and preservatives: The food industry also takes profit of the soluble fiber-pectin, citric acid and vitamin C as thickeners and preservatives.
  • Grapefruit flavorings: From grapefruit skin many oils are obtained which are used as flavorings. From the inner skin and pulp naringin is extracted, a flavonoid with very bitter taste used for flavoring bitter tonic beverages, candy, ice cream, bakery, etc.. Lately, it is being used to prevent vegetable oils to become rancid.

How to say grapefruit in other languages

Basque – Euskara: Pomelo,arabisagar

Catalan – Català: Aranger

Czech – Čeština: Grapefruit

Danish – Danks: Grapefrugt

Dutch – Nederlands: Grapefruit

Español – Spanish: Árbol del pomelo, pomelero, toronjo

Finish – Suomi : Greippi

French – Français: Pomélo, Pomelo, chadègue, pamplemousse, fruit défendu

Galician – Galego : Pomelo

German – Deutsch: Grapefruit

Hungarian – Magyar: Grépfrút

Italian – Italiano: Pompelmo

Lithuanian – Lietuvių: Greipfrutinis citrinmedis

Norwegian – Norks: Grapefrukt

Polish – Polski: Grejpfrut

Portuguese – Português: Toronja, toranja

Romanian – Română: Grepfrut

Russian – Русский: Грейпфрут

Serbian – Cрпски / Srpski: Грејпфрут

Slovenian – Slovenčina: Grapefruit, grep

Swedish – Svenska: Grapefrukt

Turkish – Türkçe: Greyfurt

punto rojo More information on grapefruit.

This article was endorsed by Julián Masats - Technical agricultural engineer specialized in horticulture and gardening.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

20 October, 2021

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