Fine Art

Citrus maxima

Citrus maxima, Ormideia, Cyprus, Photo:  Augusta Stylianou Artist

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids II
Ordo: Sapindales

Familia: Rutaceae
Subfamilia: Aurantioideae
Tribus: Aurantieae
Subtribus: Citrinae
Genus: Citrus
Species: Citrus maxima

Citrus maxima (Burm.) Merr. (1917)

Aurantium maximum Burm., Herb. Amboin. Auctuar. Index Univ.: [p. 16 = sign. Z 1, verso]. 1755.

Aurantium decumana Mill., Gard. Dict., ed. 8. n. 4. 1768 [1].
Citrus × aurantium f. grandis (L.) M.Hiroe, Forest Pl. History Jap. Is. 1: 223. 1974.
Citrus × aurantium subsp. decumana (L.) Thell., Bull. Herb. Boissier, ser. 2, 8: 787. 1908 [2].
Citrus × aurantium var. decumana L., Sp. Pl., ed. 2, 2: 1101. 1763.
Citrus × aurantium var. grandis L., Sp. Pl. 2: 783. 1753 [3].
Citrus costata Raf., Sylva Tellur. 142. 1838.
Citrus decumana L., Syst. Veg., ed. 13. 580. 1774 [4].
Citrus decumana L., Syst. Nat., ed. 12, 2: 508. 1767, nom. superfl.
Citrus grandis (L.) Osbeck, Dagbok ofwer en Ostindisk Resa 98. 1757.
Citrus grandis f. buntan Hayata, Icon. Pl. Formosan. 8: 17. 1919.
Citrus grandis var. sabon (Siebold ex Hayata) Karaya, Sborn. Nauchn. Trudov Prikl. Bot. Genet. Selekts. 112: 65. 1987.
Citrus grandis var. yamabuki (Yu.Tanaka) Karaya, Sborn. Nauchn. Trudov Prikl. Bot. Genet. Selekts. 112: 65 1987.
Citrus obovoidea Yu.Tanaka, Stud. Citrol. 7: 73, 74. 1935.
Citrus pompelmos Risso, Fl. Nice 83. 1844.
Citrus sabon Siebold ex Hayata, Icon. Pl. Formosan. 8: 18. 1919.
Citrus yamabuki Yu.Tanaka, Icon. Jap. Citrus Fruits 1: 224. 1946.
Sarcodactilis helicteroides C.F.Gaertn., Suppl. Carp. 39. 1805.

Unpublished names
Citrus grandis f. tosa-buntan hort.
Citrus grandis var. pinshanyu hort.
Citrus grandis var. tomentosa hort.
Citrus grandis var. wentanyu hort.

Citrus maxima

Citrus maxima, Ormideia, Cyprus, Photo:  Augusta Stylianou Artist


Merrill, E.D. 1917: Interpr. Herb. Amboin. 296–297.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Citrus maxima in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 07-Oct-06.

Vernacular names
العربية: بوميلو
অসমীয়া: বৰটেঙা
Bikol Central: Lukban
беларуская: Памела
বাংলা: জাম্বুরা
བོད་ཡིག: སྐྱུར་ཙི་ཆེན་པོ།
català: Aranja grossa
Chamoru: Kahet ma'gas
Deutsch: Pampelmuse
dolnoserbski: Pampelmuza
Ελληνικά: Φράπα
English: pomelo, pummelo, pommelo, Chinese grapefruit, jabong, lusho fruit, pompelmous, Papanas, shaddock
Esperanto: Pampelmuso
eesti: Pomelipuu
فارسی: پومیلو
suomi: Pomelo
français: pamplemousse
עברית: פומלו
Fiji Hindi: Chakotra
hornjoserbsce: Pamplmuza
Kreyòl ayisyen: Chadèk
Bahasa, Indonesia: Jeruk bali
italiano: pompelmo
日本語: ブンタン,ボンタン(文旦), ザボン(朱欒,香欒)
Jawa: Jeruk Bali
ქართული: თურინჯი
한국어: 자몽
lietuvių: Didysis citrinmedis
latviešu: Pampelmūze
മലയാളം: ബബ്ലൂസ് നാരകം
मराठी: पपनस‎
Bahasa Melayu: Limau bali
नेपाली: भोगटे
Nederlands: Pompelmoes
polski: Pomarańcza olbrzymia
Piemontèis: Citrus grandis
русский: Помело
slovenčina: Citrónovník obrovský
slovenščina: Pomelo
Sunda: Jeruk Bali
svenska: Pompelmus
Kiswahili: Mbalungi Mkubwa
తెలుగు: గజనిమ్మ
ไทย: ส้มโอ
Tagalog: Suha
Türkçe: Şatok
українська: Помело
Tiếng Việt: Bưởi
Winaray: Aslom
Vahcuengh: Makbug
Bân-lâm-gú: Iū-á
中文: 柚子、文旦、香欒、朱欒、內紫

The pomelo (/ˈpɒmɪloʊ, ˈpʌm-/ POM-il-oh, PUM-),[2][3] or in scientific terms Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis, is the largest citrus fruit from the family Rutaceae and the principal ancestor of the grapefruit.[4] It is a natural, i.e., non-hybrid, citrus fruit, native to Southeast Asia.[4] Similar in taste to a sweet grapefruit, the pomelo is commonly consumed and used for festive occasions throughout Southeast Asia. Like the grapefruit, the pomelo has the potential for drug interactions.


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the etymology of the word "pomelo" is uncertain.[5] It may be derived from Dutch pompelmoes.[4] Its botanical name, Citrus maxima, means "biggest citrus". In English, the word "pomelo" (also spelled pummelo, pumelo, pomello, pommelo) has become the more common name, although "pomelo" has historically been used for grapefruit.

After introduction to Barbados by 'Captain Shaddock' of the East India Company (apparently Philip Chaddock, who visited the island in the late 1640s[6]), the fruit was called "shaddock" in English.[7][8] From there the name spread to Jamaica in 1696.[9] The fruit is also known as jabong in Hawaii and jambola in varieties of English spoken in South Asia.[4] In Nepali, it is known as "bhogate (भोगटे)".[10]
Description and uses

The pomelo tree may be 5–15 m (16–50 ft) tall, possibly with a crooked trunk 10–30 cm (4–12 in) thick, and low-hanging, irregular branches.[4] Leaf petioles are distinctly winged, with alternate, ovate or elliptic shapes 5–20 cm (2–8 in) long, with a leathery, dull green upper layer, and hairy underleaf.[4] The flowers — single or in clusters — are fragrant and yellow-white in color.[4]

The fruit is large, 15–25 cm (6–10 in) in diameter,[11] usually weighing 1–2 kg (2–4 lb). It has a thicker rind than a grapefruit,[4] and is divided into 11 to 18 segments. The flesh tastes like a mild grapefruit, with little of its common bitterness (the grapefruit is a hybrid of the pomelo and the orange).[4][12] The enveloping membranes around the segments are chewy and bitter, considered inedible, and usually discarded.[4] There are at least sixty varieties.[13] The fruit generally contains few, relatively large seeds, but some varieties have numerous seeds.[4]

The juice is regarded as delicious, and the rind is used to make preserves or may be candied.[4] In Brazil, the thick skin may be used for making a sweet conserve, while the spongy pith of the rind is discarded. In Sri Lanka, it is often eaten as a dessert, sometimes sprinkled with sugar. In large parts of Southeast Asia where pomelo is native, it is a common dessert, often sprinkled with or dipped in a salt mixture. It is eaten in salads.[4] In the Philippines, a pink beverage is made from pomelo and pineapple juice.[14]

The fruit may have been introduced to China around 100 BCE.[4] In East Asia, especially in Cantonese cuisine, braised pomelo pith is used to make dishes that are high in fibre and nutritional value and low in fat.[15]
Propagation and genetic diversity

The seeds of the pomelo are monoembryonic, producing seedlings with genes from both parents, but they are usually similar to the tree they grow on and therefore pomelo is typically grown from seed in Asia.[4] Seeds can be stored for 80 days at a temperature of 5 °C (41 °F) and with moderate relative humidity.[4] Citrus maxima is usually grafted onto other citrus rootstocks outside Asia to produce trees that are identical to the parent; high-quality varieties are propagated by air-layering or by budding onto favored rootstocks.[4]

The physical and chemical characteristics of pomelo vary widely across South Asia.[4]
Non-hybrid pomelos


Possible non-hybrid pomelos


Main article: Citrus taxonomy

The pomelo is one of the original citrus species from which cultivated citrus fruits have been hybridized, others being citron, mandarin, and to a lesser extent, papedas and kumquat. In particular, the common orange is presumed to be a naturally occurring hybrid between the pomelo and the mandarin with the pomelo providing the larger size and greater firmness. The grapefruit was originally also presumed to be a naturally occurring hybrid of the pomelo and the mandarin; however, genome analysis conducted more than two centuries after this presumption was made shows that it is actually a backcrossed hybrid between a pomelo and a sweet orange which is why 63% of the grapefruit's genome comes from the pomelo. [16]

The pomelo is employed today in artificial breeding programs:

The common sweet orange (Citrus × sinensis) is a pomelo × mandarin hybrid
The bitter orange (Citrus × aurantium) is another pomelo × mandarin hybrid
The tangelo is a hybrid between pomelo or grapefruit and any tangerine; it generally has a thicker skin than a tangerine and is less sweet
'K–Early' ('Sunrise Tangelo')[17]
'Minneola tangelo': Bowen grapefruit × Dancy tangerine[17]
'Orlando' (formerly 'Take'): Bowen grapefruit × Dancy tangerine (pollen parent)[17]
'Seminole': Bowen grapefruit × Dancy tangerine[17]
'Thornton': tangerine × grapefruit, unspecified[17]
'Ugli fruit' (Jamaican tangelo): mandarin × grapefruit, probable (wild seedling)[17]
Grapefruit is a pomelo backcross: pomelo × sweet orange (see above)
Forbidden fruit another Caribbean pomelo/sweet orange cross
'Nova': Clementine × Orlando tangelo cross[17]
The Oroblanco and Melogold grapefruits are hybrids between Citrus maxima and the grapefruit
Mandelos: pomelo × mandarin
Mato buntan: a variety in Taiwan[18]
Hyuganatsu is a pomelo hybrid
Kawachi Bankan: ujukitsu x unidentified


Pomelo, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 159 kJ (38 kcal)
9.62 g
Dietary fiber 1 g
0.04 g
0.76 g
Vitamins Quantity
Thiamine (B1)
0.034 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.027 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.22 mg
Vitamin B6
0.036 mg
Vitamin C
61 mg
Minerals Quantity
0.11 mg
6 mg
0.017 mg
17 mg
216 mg
1 mg
0.08 mg
Other constituents Quantity
Water 89 g

Link to USDA Database entry
  • Units
  • μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams
  • IU = International units
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA FoodData Central

Raw pomelo flesh is 89% water, 10% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and contains negligible fat (table). A 100 gram reference amount provides 159 kilojoules (38 kilocalories) of food energy, and is rich in vitamin C (73% of the Daily Value), with no other micronutrients in significant content.
Potential for drug interaction
Main article: Grapefruit–drug interactions

Pomelo may cause adverse effects, similar to those caused by grapefruit and some other citrus fruits, through the inhibition of cytochrome P450-mediated metabolism of prescription drugs such as anti-hypertensives and anticoagulants.[19]

Flowering and fruiting branch with numbered fruit segment and flower section, chromolithograph by P. Depannemaeker, c. 1885, after B. Hoola van Nooten

This white hybrid Pomelo is cushioned with a thick mesocarp layer


Pomelo after being cut

Pink pomelo juice vesicles

Pomelo blossom

Pomelo on tree, has fruit and blossoms at the same time

Fujian's Pinghe County is famous in China for its pomelos

Pomelo orchard

Pink pomelo

Pomelo seedling

Closeup of pomelo petiole

Ipoh pomelos on sale at Chinatown, Singapore

Tam som-o nam pu: spicy Thai pomelo salad with crab extract


Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI).; IUCN SSC Global Tree Specialist Group (2019). "Citrus maxima". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019: e.T62042732A147027490. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-2.RLTS.T62042732A147027490.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
"pomelo". The Chambers Dictionary (9th ed.). Chambers. 2003. ISBN 0-550-10105-5.
"pomelo". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
Morton, Julia F. (1987). "Pummelo: Citrus maxima". Fruits of warm climates. NewCROP, New Crop Resource Online Program, Center for New Crops and Plant Products, Purdue University. pp. 147–151. Retrieved 31 January 2020 – via
"pomelo". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
Kumamoto, J; Scora, R W; Lawton, H W; Clerx, W A (1987). "Mystery of the Forbidden Fruit: Historical Epilogue on the Origin of the Grapefruit, Citrus paradisi (Rutaceae)". Economic Botany. 41: 97–107.
"Pomelo (Pummelo) Citrus maxima". 2009-11-14. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
"fruitInfo-trdLevel2021.html". 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
American Heritage Dictionary, 1973.
"The Joys of Bhogate Sadheko". ECS NEPAL. Retrieved 2021-05-13.
"Pomelo: Growing the granddaddy of grapefruit",, December 25, 2004
Morton, Julia F. (1987). "Grapefruit: Citrus paradisi". Fruits of warm climates. NewCROP, New Crop Resource Online Program, Center for New Crops and Plant Products, Purdue University. pp. 152–158. Retrieved 31 January 2020 – via
Pomelos, grapefruit's sweeter and mellower relative, have a wealth of flavor, by Jeanne Kelley, in the Los Angeles Times; published February 12, 2016; retrieved November 19, 2021 (via
Hargreaves, Dorothy; Hargreaves, Bob (1970). Tropical Trees of the Pacific. Kailua, Hawaii: Hargreaves. p. 51.
"Braised pomelo pith". Week in China. 8 December 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
Morton, Julia F. (1987). "Tangelo". Fruits of warm climates. Miami, FL.: Julia F. Morton. pp. 158–160. ISBN 0-9610184-1-0.
"Mato buntan". University of California - Riverside, Citrus Variety Collection. Retrieved 2022-03-12.
Bailey, D. G.; Dresser, G.; Arnold, J. M. O. (2012-11-26). "Grapefruit-medication interactions: Forbidden fruit or avoidable consequences?". Canadian Medical Association Journal. 185 (4): 309–316. doi:10.1503/cmaj.120951. ISSN 0820-3946. PMC 3589309. PMID 23184849.

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