Grapefruit

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The grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi), is a subtropical citrus tree known for its bitter fruit, an 18th-century hybrid first bred in Barbados.[1] When found, it was named the "forbidden fruit";[2] it has also been misidentified with the pomelo or shaddock (C. maxima), one of the parents of this hybrid, the other being sweet orange (C. × sinensis).

These evergreen trees are usually found at around 5–6 metres (16–20 ft) tall, although they can reach 13–15 metres (43–49 ft). The leaves are dark green, long (up to 150 mm, or 6 inches) and thin. It produces 5 cm (2 in) white four-petaled flowers. The fruit is yellow-orange skinned and largely an oblate spheroid; it ranges in diameter from 10–15 cm. The flesh is segmented and acidic, varying in color depending on the cultivars, which include white, pink and red pulps of varying sweetness. The 1929 US Ruby Red (of the Redblush variety) has the first grapefruit patent.[3]

The fruit has become popular since the late 19th century; before that it was only grown as an ornamental plant. The United States quickly became a major producer of the fruit, with orchards in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. In Spanish, the fruit is known as toronja [4] or pomelo.[5]

Contents

History

One ancestor of the grapefruit was the Jamaican sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), itself an ancient hybrid of Asian origin; the other was the Indonesian pomelo (C. maxima). One story of the fruit's origins is that a certain "Captain Shaddock"[6] brought pomelo seeds to Jamaica and bred the first fruit.[7] But it probably originated as a naturally-occurring hybrid.[1]

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