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Calamondin

(Citrus mitis)

Other Names: Golden lime, Scarlet lime, Musk lime

Description:
The calamondin tree can grow from 1-7 m high has a deep taproot and is erect, slender, densely branched beginning close to the ground and slightly thorny. The evergreen leaves are alternate, aromatic, broad-oval, dark-green, glossy on the upper surface, yellowish-green beneath, 4-7 cm long, faintly toothed at the apex, with short, narrowly-winged petioles. The richly and sweetly fragrant flowers, having 5 elliptic-oblong, pure-white petals, are about 2.5 cm wide and borne singly or in 2's or 3's terminally or in the leaf axils near the branch tips. The showy fruits are round to 4 cm wide, with very aromatic, orange-red peel, glossy, and dotted with numerous small oil glands; tender, thin, easily-removed, sweet, and edible. The pulp, in 6 to 10 segments, is orange, very juicy, highly acid with 1 to 5 small, ovoid seeds.

Uses:
Calamondin halves or quarters may be served with iced tea, seafood and meats, to be squeezed for the acid juice. They were commonly so used in Florida before limes became plentiful. Calamondins are also preserved whole in sugar sirup, or made into sweet pickles, or marmalade. A superior marmalade is made by using equal quantities of calamondins and kumquats. The juice is primarily valued for making acid beverages. It is often employed like lime or lemon juice.

Health:
The fruit juice applied to the scalp after shampooing eliminates itching and promotes hair growth. Rubbing calamondin juice on insect bites banishes the itching and irritation. It bleaches freckles and helps to clear up acne vulgaris and pruritus vulvae. It is taken orally as a cough remedy and antiphlogistic. Slightly diluted and drunk warm, it serves as a laxative. Combined with pepper, it is prescribed in Malaya to expel phlegm.

Climate:
The calamondin is as cold-hardy as the Satsuma orange. It is moderately drought tolerant.

Soil:
The tree seems able to tolerate a wide range of soils from clay-loam in the Philippines to limestone or sand in Florida.

Propagation:
Calamondin trees may be easily grown from seeds, which are polyembryonic with 3 to 5 embryos each. For commercial fruit production the trees are budded onto calamondin seedlings. Even leaf-cuttings will root readily.

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