Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

What Kind of Citrus Tree Has Thorns?

Lemon tree
JordiDelgado/iStock/Getty Images

Many types of citrus trees grow thorns at some point during their growth period. However, pruning away thorns, even from new growth is perfectly safe. Mature citrus trees, like lemons, limes and grapefruits, tend to grow thorns less frequently than newly grafted trees.

Types of Citrus Trees

Grapefruit on tree, close-up, Florida, USA
Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Many different kinds of fruit-bearing citrus trees are known to be thorny. Some of the most common kinds to grow thorns include Meyer lemons, grapefruits, and key limes.

Protection

Branch with needles
Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Thorns often sprout on new grafts and fruiting wood. Juvenile plants grow thorns to protect themselves from grazing animals.

  • Many types of citrus trees grow thorns at some point during their growth period.
  • Mature citrus trees, like lemons, limes and grapefruits, tend to grow thorns less frequently than newly grafted trees.

Rootstock Thorns

grafted branch in cloning plant technique
werajoe/iStock/Getty Images

Fruit growers who graft their trees should remove all thorns from the rootstock at the time of grafting.

Pruning Thorns

Pruning an orange tree
baianliang/iStock/Getty Images

As gardeners notice thorns on their citrus trees, it is safe to prune away the thorns. Pruning thorns will not damage new growths.

Container Growing

lemon tree
Vitaly Stepanov/iStock/Getty Images

Citrus trees grow well in containers, making them appropriate for indoor growth as well as outdoor growth. These trees self-pollinate and will produce fruit when grown indoors.

Kind Of Citrus Tree Has Thorns?

Several fruit trees, including many types of citrus fruit that flourish in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, have thorns on their branches. Over time, as the tree grows older and stronger -- and better able to handle animal damage -- the thorns usually diminish. Desirable for its distinctive odor and flavor, it is cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates around the world. Most true, or species, lemon trees have sharp thorns lining the twigs. Oranges (Citrus sinensis) are loved around the world for their attractive package and sweet flavor, although some are much sweeter than others. Although lime trees, with their small, stocky profile and thorny branches, look rather tough, the fruit is actually sensitive to cold. Kumquats are about the size of plums, with skin ranging from bright orange to ruby red, and are usually eaten whole. The trees are small, compact and slow-growing.

  • Fruit growers who graft their trees should remove all thorns from the rootstock at the time of grafting.
  • Although lime trees, with their small, stocky profile and thorny branches, look rather tough, the fruit is actually sensitive to cold.

Related Articles

The Care of Dwarf Pomegranate Trees
The Care of Dwarf Pomegranate Trees
Kinds of Tangerine Trees
Kinds of Tangerine Trees
The Life Cycle of a Citrus Tree
The Life Cycle of a Citrus Tree
Citrus Trees in Ohio
Citrus Trees in Ohio
How to Prune Apricot Trees in Australia
How to Prune Apricot Trees in Australia
How to Prune Young Citrus Trees
How to Prune Young Citrus Trees
Pomegranate Tree Planting
Pomegranate Tree Planting
Growing Meyer Lemons in Florida
Growing Meyer Lemons in Florida
How to Get Rid of Fruit Rats
How to Get Rid of Fruit Rats
Lemon Trees in Texas
Lemon Trees in Texas
Classification of Fruit Trees
Classification of Fruit Trees
How Fast Do Crabapple Trees Grow?
How Fast Do Crabapple Trees Grow?
Parts of a Tangerine Tree
Parts of a Tangerine Tree
What Is a Wild Plum Tree?
What Is a Wild Plum Tree?
How to Prune a Peach Tree in Texas
How to Prune a Peach Tree in Texas
What Does a Quince Tree Look Like?
What Does a Quince Tree Look Like?
Garden Guides
×