Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Citrus limon
(L.) Burm.f., Rutaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  Low risk, score: -3 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Citrus limonum Risso

Common name(s): [more details]

Chamorro: lemon reat, limon real

Chinese: li meng, ning meng

English: lemon

Fijian: moli karokaro, moli ni vavalangi, moli sosoriatia

French: citronnier, limonier

I-Kiribati: remen, te remen, te remon

Maori (Cook Islands): rēmene, rēmene, rēmene, rēmene, rēmene, rēmene, rēmene papa‘a, rēmene papa‘a, rēmene papa‘a, rēmene papa‘a, rēmene papa‘a

Niuean: sipolo, sipolo fua lalahi

Palauan: debechel, malchianged

Pohnpeian: karer, laman, lemon

Pukapukan: lēmene papā

Spanish: limón amarillo, limón sútil, limonero

Tongan: lemani, lemani molemole

Tongarevan (spoken): lēmene

Tongarevan (written): rēmene

Tuvaluan: laim, moli

Habit:  tree

Description:  "The true lemon tree reaches 10 to 20 ft (3-6 m) in height and usually has sharp thorns on the twigs. The alternate leaves, reddish when young, become dark-green above, light-green below; are oblong, elliptic or long-ovate, 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 in (6.25-11.25 cm) long, finely toothed, with slender wings on the petioles. The mildly fragrant flowers may be solitary or there may be 2 or more clustered in the leaf axils. Buds are reddish; the opened flowers have 4 or 5 petals 3/4 in (2 cm) long, white on the upper surface (inside), purplish beneath (outside), and 20-40 more or less united stamens with yellow anthers. The fruit is oval with a nipple-like protuberance at the apex; 2 3/4 to 4 3/4 in (7 -12 cm) long; the peel is usually light-yellow though some lemons are variegated with longitudinal stripes of green and yellow or white; it is aromatic, dotted with oil glands; 1/4 to 3/8 in (6-10 mm) thick; pulp is pale-yellow, in 8 to 10 segments, juicy, acid. Some fruits are seedless, most have a few seeds, elliptic or ovate, pointed, smooth, 3/8 in (9.5 mm) long, white inside." (Morton, 1987, pp. 160-168)

"A tree or shrub 10-9 m high.  Its leaves have short (5-10 mm long) petioles, margined or very narrowly winged, and ovate, serrate blades 5-10 x 3-6 cm.  The flowers have white petals that are reddish-tinged in bud; the fruits are pale yellow-green when mature, up to 12 x 6 cm, with a fairly thick rind and pale yellow, sour pulp"  (Smith, 1985; pp. 518-519).

Habitat/ecology:  "Because of its more or less continuous state of growth, the lemon is more sensitive to cold than the orange and less able to recover from cold injury. The tree is defoliated at 22 to 24 F (-5.56-4.44 C). A temperature drop to 20 F (-6.67 C) will severely damage the wood unless there has been a fortnight of near-freezing weather to slow down growth. Flowers and young fruits are killed by 29 F (-1.67 C) and nearly mature fruits are badly damaged below 28 F (-2.22 C). On the other hand, the lemon attains best quality in coastal areas with summers too cool for proper ripening of oranges and grapefruit. Therefore, the lemon has a relatively limited climatic range. The lemon tree has the reputation of tolerating very infertile, very poor soil." (Morton, 1987, pp. 160-168)

In Fiji, "the lemon is seen from near sea level to an elevation of about 550 m, being cultivated and sometimes naturalized in waste places, pastures, and canefields, and on open hills" (Smith, 1985; pp. 518-519). In New Caledonia, "répandu dans les jardins et souvent naturalisé" (MacKee, 1994; p. 125).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  "The origin of the lemon is uncertain, although it may have come from southeastern Asia" (Smith, 1985; pp. 518-519).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island introduced
Pickard, J. (1984) (p. 208)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
cultivated
Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido (2006) (p. 552)
As Citrus limonium Risso
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Aguijan (Agiguan, Aguihan) Island   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Rota Island   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
Cook Islands
Northern Cook Islands
Manihiki Atoll introduced
cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Northern Cook Islands
Manuae Atoll (Northern Cook Islands) introduced
cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Northern Cook Islands
Penrhyn (Tongareva) Island introduced
cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Northern Cook Islands
Pukapuka Atoll introduced
cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Northern Cook Islands
Rakahanga Atoll introduced
cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Northern Cook Islands
Suwarrow (Taka) Atoll introduced
cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Aitutaki Atoll introduced
cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
‘Atiu Island introduced
cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Mangaia Island introduced
cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Miti‘aro Island introduced
cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Palmerston (Avarau) Island introduced
cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island introduced
cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Floreana Group
Floreana Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Isabela Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Volcán Sierra Negra, Isabela Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 123)
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island introduced
cultivated
Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy (2010) (p. 24)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
cultivated
Herrera, Katherine/Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy/Balick, Michael J. (2010) (p. 133)
Vouchers cited: E. Albert 210 (NY, PTBG), P. Raynor 129 (NY, PTBG)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2004) (voucher ID: PTBG 43820)
Taxon name on voucher: Citrus limon
Federated States of Micronesia
Yap Islands
Ifalik (Ifaluk) Atoll introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 123)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1985) (pp. 518-519)
Vouchers cited: DA 11756, DA 14818, DA 10018, DA 10019, DA 16653, DA 4057
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
cultivated
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 253)
Voucher cited: Moore 416
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 253)
Voucher cited: Florence 3871
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Voucher cited: J. Florence 3871 (PAP)
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Makatea (Ma‘atea) Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Raivavae (Raevavae) Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Tubuai Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Naturalisée
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
cultivated
Stone, Benjamin C. (1970) (p. 352)
Rare in cultivation.
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 123)
Kiribati
Kiribati
Kiribati (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Thaman, R. R. (1987) (p. 33)
Marshall Islands
Ratak Chain
Arno Atoll introduced
cultivated
Vander Velde, Nancy/Vander Velde, Brian (2007) (p. 11)
Not a positive identification. "Rare; single tree by house in Ine village; fruit sour and seemingly not highly prized".
Marshall Islands
Ratak Chain
Majuro (Mãjro) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Vander Velde, Nancy (2003) (p. 122)
Marshall Islands
Ratak Chain
Wotje (Wõjjã) Atoll introduced
Vander Velde, Nancy/Vander Velde, Brian (2009) (p. 3)
Voucher cited: Vander Velde 0517200908
Nauru
Nauru Island
Nauru Island introduced
cultivated
Thaman, R. R./Fosberg, F. R./Manner, H. I./Hassall, D. C. (1994) (pp. 191-192)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 125)
Vouchers cited: Nithis 11 (NOU), Fukuoka & at. C-211 (NOU)
Spontané
New Zealand (offshore islands)
Kermadec Islands
Raoul Island introduced
cultivated
Sykes, W. R. (1977) (p. 139)
Relic of cultivation.
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
cultivated
Sykes, W. R. (1970) (p. 182)
Voucher cited: CHR 168942
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Palau Islands (main island group) introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 123)
Palau
Sonsorol Group
Sonsorol Island   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
Papua New Guinea
Bismarck Archipelago
Bismarck Archipelago introduced
cultivated
Peekel, P. G. [translated by E. E. Henty] (1984) (p. 272)
Only occasionally planted.
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands introduced
cultivated
Hancock, I. R./Henderson, C. P. (1988) (p. 58)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
China
China
China (People's Republic of) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Cultivated and sometimes naturalized in S China.
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
invasive
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 26)
Casual
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Indian Ocean offshore islands)
Christmas Island Group
Christmas Island introduced
cultivated
Swarbrick, J. T. (1997) (p. 109)
British Indian Ocean Territory
Chagos Archipelago
Diego Garcia Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Rivers, Julie (2004) (pp. 5, 8)
Maldives
Maldive Islands
Maldive Islands   Fosberg, F. R. (1957) (p. 22)
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Agalega Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Stoddart, D. R. (1983) (p. 136)
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Frégate Island   Robertson, S. A./Todd, D. M. (1983) (p. 60)

Comments:  Widespread in cultivation.

Additional information:
Additional online information about Citrus limon is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Information about Citrus limon as a weed (worldwide references) may be available from the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Taxonomic information about Citrus limon may be available from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

References:

Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John. 2011. Naturalized species in the Juan Fernández Archipelago, Chile. Unpublished spreadsheet.

Charles Darwin Foundation. 2008. Database inventory of introduced plant species in the rural and urban zones of Galapagos. Charles Darwin Foundation, Galapagos, Ecuador.

Charles Darwin Research Station. 2005. CDRS Herbarium records.

Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp.

Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido. 2006. Nouveau catalogue de la flore vaculaire de l'archipel Juan Fernández (Chile) [Nuevo catálogo de la flora vacular del Archipélago Juan Fernández (Chile)]. Acta Bot. Gallica 153(4):399-587.

Falanruw, Marjorie C./Maka, Jean E./Cole, Thomas G./Whitesell, Craig D. 1990. Common and scientific names of trees and shrubs of Mariana, Caroline, and Marshall Islands. Pac. SW Forest and Range Expt. Stn. Resource Bulletin PSW-67. 91 pp.

Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. 2013. Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP). (online resource).

Fosberg, F. R. 1957. The Maldive Islands, Indian Ocean. Atoll Research Bulletin No. 58. Pacific Science Board, National Academy of Sciences, Washington. 37 pp.

Fosberg, F. R./Otobed, D./Sachet, M.-H./Oliver, R. L./Powell, D. A./Canfield, J. E. 1980. Vascular plants of Palau with vernacular names. Department of Botany, The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 43 pp.

Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce. 1979. A geographical checklist of the Micronesian dicotyledonae. Micronesica 15:1-295.

Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Stoddart, D. R. 1983. List of the recorded vascular flora of Agalega. In: Sachet, M. H., D. R. Stoddart, and F. R. Fosberg. Floristics and ecology of Western Indian Ocean islands. Atoll Research Bulletin No. 273. Smithsonian Institution, Washington. 253 pp.

Hancock, I. R./Henderson, C. P. 1988. Flora of the Solomon Islands. Research Bulletin No. 7. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Honiara. 203 pp.

Herrera, Katherine/Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy/Balick, Michael J. 2010. Checklist of the vascular plants of Pohnpei with local names and uses. Allertonia, in press. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Hawai‘i. 146 pp.

Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy. 2010. Checklist of the plants of Kosrae. Unpublished checklist. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Hawai‘i. 26 pp.

MacKee, H. S. 1994. Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 164 p.

McCormack, Gerald. 2013. Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, Version 2007.2. Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust, Rarotonga.

Morton, Julia F. 1987. Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, Florida.

Peekel, P. G. [translated by E. E. Henty]. 1984. Flora of the Bismarck Archipelago for naturalists. Office of Forests, Division of Botany, Lae, Papua New Guinea. 638 pp. ISBN 9980-66-000-7.

Pickard, J. 1984. Exotic plants on Lord Howe Island: Distribution in space and time, 1853-1981. J. of Biogeography 11:181-208.

Rivers, Julie. 2004. Botanical survey update of Diego Garcia, Chagos Archipeligo, British Indian Ocean Territory. Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific. 16 pp. plus "List of the higher plants of Diego Garcia".

Robertson, S. A./Todd, D. M. 1983. Vegetation of Frégate Island, Seychelles. In: Sachet, M. H., D. R. Stoddart, and F. R. Fosberg. Floristics and ecology of Western Indian Ocean islands. Atoll Research Bulletin No. 273. Smithsonian Institution, Washington. 253 pp.

Smith, Albert C. 1985. Flora Vitiensis nova: a new flora of Fiji. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii. Volume 3. 758 pp.

Stone, Benjamin C. 1970. The flora of Guam. Micronesica 6:1-659.

Swarbrick, J. T. 1997. Environmental weeds and exotic plants on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean: a report to Parks Australia. 101 pp. plus appendix.

Sykes, W. R. 1970. Contributions to the flora of Niue. New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Bulletin 200, Wellington. 321 pp.

Sykes, W. R. 1977. Kermadec Islands flora: an annotated checklist. New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Bulletin 219, Wellington. 216 pp.

Thaman, R. R. 1987. Plants of Kiribati: a listing and analysis of vernacular names. Atoll Res. Bull. 296:1-42.

Thaman, R. R./Fosberg, F. R./Manner, H. I./Hassall, D. C. 1994. The flora of Nauru. Smithsonian Institution, Washington. Atoll Research Bulletin 392:1-223.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. 2013. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online searchable database.

Vander Velde, Nancy. 2003. The vascular plants of Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands. Smithsonian Institution, Atoll Research Bulletin No. 503:1-141.

Vander Velde, Nancy/Vander Velde, Brian. 2007. Arno plants [preliminary working listing of plant species]. Unpublished checklist, 13 pp.

Vander Velde, Nancy/Vander Velde, Brian. 2009. Specimens from Likiep, Majuro, Wotje and Arno (unpublished checklist). 4 pp.

Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. 2013. Flora of Micronesia. National Tropical Botanical Garden and the Smithsonian Institution. Online database.

Welsh, S. L. 1998. Flora Societensis: A summary revision of the flowering plants of the Society Islands. E.P.S. Inc., Orem, Utah. 420 pp.

Whistler, W. A. 1991. The ethnobotany of Tonga: The plants, their Tongan names, and their uses. Bishop Museum Bulletin in Botany 2. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 155 pp. ISBN 0-930897-57-9.

Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong. 2013. Flora of China (online resource).


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This page was created on 21 JUN 2004 and was last updated on 17 MAR 2008.