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Fruit and Fruit
Citrus maxima is the largest member of the Rutaceae (citrus) family, and the progenitor of the grapefruit (which is a hybrid originally created by crossing the pomelo with the orange).
Native to southern China and Malaysia (and possibly other parts of southeast Asia), the pomelo is now cultivated in many tropical and semi-tropical countries, and on many islands of the South Pacific, including Tahiti and Fiji.
The pomelo tree has a rounded crown and grows 15 to 50 feet tall, with evergreen oblong to elliptic leaves that are 4 to 8 inches long. The flowers and fruits are borne singly, in contrast to grapefruits, which grow in clusters. The fruits, which vary from round to pear-shaped and ripen to yellow, orange, or red, can be up to 12 inches across and weigh up to 20 pounds. The flesh of the fruit, which may be greenish yellow, yellow, pink, or red, is often juicy, and divided into 11 to 18 segments. The flavor is sweet to somewhat acidic. The pith that surrounds the segments is generally considered too bitter to consume.
Like all other citrus fruits, the pomelo is high in vitamin C and a good source of dietary fiber.
Pomelos are generally eaten fresh. The juice can be used in various beverages, and the peel can be candied.
Traditional medicinal uses of the fruit include treatment of coughs, fevers, and gastrointestinal disorders. The aromatic flowers are picked and processed into perfume in Vietnam, and the wood, which is heavy and hard-grained, used for making tool handles. The juices and essential oils from the fruit itself can also be added to soaps and lotions, and the seeds are often ground into a skin-cleansing exfoliating scrub.
This page was last updated on 02/02/2017.