1021 Citrofortunella microcarpaCommon Names: calamondin, Panama orange Family: Rutaceae (citrus Family)
The calamondin is a cold hardy citrus created by crossing a mandarin (Citrus reticulata, a.k.a. tangerine or satsuma), with a kumquat (Fortunella margarita), probably the Nagami kumquat. Since the parents are in different genera, the new genus name begins with the capital letter X, which is pronounced "the hybrid genus" (really!). See Floridata's What's in a Plant Name for more on how plants get their names for more esoterica on plant taxonomy.
Calamondin trees are rather small, bushy evergreens, with a dense crown. They usually have a few short spines on the branches. The leaves are 2-4 in (5-10 cm) long with winged petioles. The trees can get up to 10-20 ft (3-6 m) tall, but are usually smaller. The bright orange colored fruits are round, about 1.5 in (4 cm) across, and very sour.
Kumquats and mandarins are native to eastern Asia. The calamondin, X Citrofortunella microcarpa, was apparently first developed in the Philippines.
CultureLight: Calamondin trees can tolerate partial shade, but produce more flowers and fruit when grown in full sun. Moisture: Once established, most citrus trees are quite drought tolerant, but they should be watered deeply during prolonged dry periods. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 11. The calamondin is one of the hardiest of all citrus trees. Propagation: Calamondins can be propagated by rooting soft wood cuttings in spring or semi-ripe cuttings in summer. They also are bud-grafted onto sour orange (Poncirus trifoliata) rootstock.
The calamondin is an attractive ornamental evergreen tree, with fabulously fragrant "orange" blossoms in spring. The colorful fruits persist on the tree throughout winter. They can be used in drinks, as lemons or limes are used. Calamondins are often grown in containers, and make an attractive poolside or patio plant. If you live in zone 8B or colder, this is one of the very few citrus trees you can grow outside.
X Citrofortunella also includes the limequats, X C. floridana (Lakeland and Eustis limequats), and X C. swinglei (Tavares limequat), which are hybrids between the lime, Citrus aurantiifolia, and the Meiwa kumquat; and the lime and the Nagami kumquat, respectively.
Steve Christman 4/13/06