Asian citrus trees

Updated February 21, 2017

Citrus trees are found all over the world, primarily in sunny, tropical regions. The fruits of citrus trees, such as oranges, lemons and limes, are often rich in nutrients like vitamin C. Asia is home to dozens of citrus trees, many of which are extremely rare in the UK. If you're looking for an unusual citrus tree to plant in your garden, consider an Asian variety.

Ichang papeda

This resilient citrus tree grows wild in southwest China and can withstand subzero temperatures. Its oblong, lemon-shaped fruit is filled with meaty flesh and seeds, but is quite bitter and lacks juice. According to However, the ichang papeda works well as an ornamental tree and can be hybridised with other citrus trees to improve its fruit while retaining it hardiness.

Philippine Lime

Introduced to Florida around the turn of the century, the Philippine lime tree, also known as kalamansi or calamondin, grows wild in China, Indonesia and the Philippines. This tree produces small, bright orange, juicy citrus fruits similar to mandarins. This highly acidic fruit has nine segments and a particularly thin peel. The Philippine lime tree will grow between 2 and 7.5 m (6 1/2 and 25 feet) high.

Chinese box orange

The box orange or severina tree is native to the Philippines, Malay Peninsula, New Guinea and India. Though its small, dark, berrylike citrus fruits are inedible, the tree of the Chinese box orange is a popular ornamental in Asia. Chinese yeast cakes called "tsau ping lak" are made using the box orange's leaves. The Chinese box orange's closest relatives are the buxifolia, disticha, retusa, paniculata, linearis and buxifolia brachytic.

Flying dragon

The flying dragon is an ornamental citrus tree native to China and Korea. The fruit is also sometimes called the Japanese hiryo or Japanese bitter orange. The flying dragon's small, yellow, furry citrus fruits are unpalatable because they contain the bitter oil poinciridin.


Native to Tibet and interior China but more widely cultivated in Japan, yuzu is a hybrid citrus fruit tree that produces bitter, orange-like fruit. In Japan these fruits appear in late autumn and signal the coming of winter in certain regions of the country. The yuzu fruit has a fragrant, pleasing aroma, and the Japanese will often wrap it in cheesecloth to place in a hot bath.

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About the Author

Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.