How to Identify Lemon Trees


Lemon trees are a common fruit tree grown in household landscapes and can also thrive in the wild. The origins of the lemon are not known, but the citrus may have been brought to North America from Europe, where it was cultivated from India for centuries, according to The lemon tree is one of the most cold-sensitive varieties in the citrus family, so they do not grow well in the wild in any state where there are even occasional freezes. Identifying lemon trees depends on the variety, as there are several, but generally they have similar foliage and fruit.

Step 1

Observe the size of the tree. At full maturity, lemon trees reach from 20 to 30 feet, but the average height ranges from 10 to 20 feet. The trees grow in a rounded shape.

Step 2

Look at the foliage. Lemon trees have oval-shaped leaves with fine scalloped edges, which range from 2-and-1/2 to 4-and-1/2 inches long. The leaves tend to have a dark green upper side with a lighter green underneath. All lemon trees have small branches with thorns.

Step 3

See if there are flowers on the tree. When in bloom, the lemon tree has reddish pink buds and the flowers are small, white and fragrant, growing in sets of one or two.

Step 4

Look for the easiest identification of the lemon tree: the fruit, which is technically a berry. Lemons grow on average from 2-and-3/4 to 4-and-3/4 inches long. They are bright yellow and shiny with small dimples covering the thick rind. They are aromatic and spotted with oil glands.


  • Purdue University: Lemons
  • Tree Help: Citrus Trees---Lemons
Keywords: lemon tree care, identifying lemons, about lemon trees

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.