Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Identify Citrus Trees

...
Chinotto image by Desiree Müller from Fotolia.com

The subtropical evergreen family of citrus trees is very popular throughout the world for landscaping, culinary and medicinal purposes. Although the trees may be easily recognizable by the fruit on the branches, it is important to understand how to identify citrus trees by their foliage, shape or flowers in case the tree has no fruit on it at the moment. The most common citrus trees on landscapes include mandarins, oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes. All citrus trees cannot survive in temperatures that drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Examine the size of the citrus tree, as some grow small and squat and others are tall and skinny. Grapefruit and orange trees can grow to more than 30 feet tall, and they appear rounder in shape. Limes and lemons usually don't exceed 10 to 15 feet and have a shrubby appearance. Mandarin trees usually grow around 15 feet tall but can reach 25 feet at full maturity. Consider branch shape as well. Limes have slender, spiky branches, and lemons have twiggy branches with thorny offshoots.

  • The subtropical evergreen family of citrus trees is very popular throughout the world for landscaping, culinary and medicinal purposes.
  • Grapefruit and orange trees can grow to more than 30 feet tall, and they appear rounder in shape.

Observe the fruit on the citrus tree if there is any apparent. Consider the size and shape of the fruit, particularly the color. Lemons are bright yellow, are 2 to 4 inches long and have an oval shape. Grapefruits range from a paler shade of yellow to pinkish yellow to bright yellow, have a round shape, and are large and heavy, averaging around 4 inches in diameter (larger than any of the other citrus). Limes are much smaller and bright green, 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Oranges are bright orange and spherical, 2 to 4 inches in diameter. Oranges are usually bumpy with a thick rind.

  • Observe the fruit on the citrus tree if there is any apparent.
  • Lemons are bright yellow, are 2 to 4 inches long and have an oval shape.

Look at the shape and size of the leaves. Lemon trees have elliptical leaves with fine-tooth edges, dark green on top and light green on the bottom, and the leaves grow close together. Lime trees have similar leaves but are very glossy and grow 2 to 4 inches long, and the leaves grow separately. Orange tree leaves are very dark green and glossy, with a rounded base, and are 3 to 5 inches long. Tangerine leaves are the same but a little smaller and grow in clumps. Grapefruit leaves are very glossy and range from 3 to 5 inches long. They have a round base and pointed tip.

  • Look at the shape and size of the leaves.
  • Lime trees have similar leaves but are very glossy and grow 2 to 4 inches long, and the leaves grow separately.

Check for flowers on the citrus tree. All of the trees flower before fruiting with small, white flowers. Lemon, lime and orange trees have flowers that have a strong, sweet fragrance, while the grapefruit tree flowers do not have any aroma. Lemon and lime flowers also have a slightly pink to purple-tinged underside.

Related Articles

How to Identify Citrus Fruit Trees
How to Identify Citrus Fruit Trees
How Do You Tell the Difference Between a Lemon and a Lime Tree?
How Do You Tell the Difference Between a Lemon and...
Difference Between Orange & Lemon Trees
Difference Between Orange & Lemon Trees
The Identification of the Leaves of Fruit Trees
The Identification of the Leaves of Fruit Trees
How to Identify Orange Trees
How to Identify Orange Trees
Lemon Leaf Identification
Lemon Leaf Identification
How to Identify Types of Lemon Trees
How to Identify Types of Lemon Trees
How to Identify Fruit Trees by Leaf
How to Identify Fruit Trees by Leaf
Is an Apple a Citrus Fruit?
Is an Apple a Citrus Fruit?
The Best Lime Trees
The Best Lime Trees
Meyer Lemon Vs. Eureka Lemon
Meyer Lemon Vs. Eureka Lemon
How to Identify Avocado Trees
How to Identify Avocado Trees
Florida Palm Trees & Their Fruit
Florida Palm Trees & Their Fruit
How to Care for Redspire Pear Tree
How to Care for Redspire Pear Tree
Lime Trees With Thorns
Lime Trees With Thorns
Garden Guides
×