Myrtifolia sour orange (CRC 3290)

Citrus myrtifolia Rafinesque
Citrus aurantium var. myrtifolia

CRC 3290
PI 539450


Budwood used from another accession in the Citrus Variety Collection.


Parents unknown.

Rootstocks of accession

Carrizo citrange, C-35 citrange

Season of ripeness at Riverside

January to March

Notes and observations

2/24/1988, EMN: No fruit. Very compact tree. Small leaves which tend to be cupped.

1/18/1989, EMN: No fruit yet this season.

1/26/1990, EMN: Fruit about half the size of Standard sour, less well colored now- many fruit still greenish. Thick rind; coarse, dryish flesh; sour, seedy.

Description from The Citrus Industry Vol. 1 (1967)

"Because it somewhat resembles the sour orange, the myrtle-leaf orange (chinotto of Italy, chinois of France) is commonly considered to be a botanical variety of C. aurantium L.  Indeed, the presumption is that the myrtle-leaf orange originated as a mutation from the sour orange.  The differences are sufficiently great and the degree of variation exhibited so wide, however, as to appear to justify separate species standing.

The several forms of the myrtle-leaf orange are all characterized by low vigor, slow growth, and small trees with brachytic thornless branchlets, the internodes of which are so short that the leaves are crowded and the growth habit more or less dense and compact.  The leaves are very small, dark green, and usually but not always lanceolate-pointed.  The fruits are small, oblate to round, with more or less rough rind surface and orange to deep orange in color.  The seed content is highly variable and ranges from few or no seeds to many.

The myrtle-leaf orange has been known for some centuries in the Mediterranean and, as its Italian and French names imply, was presumably introduced from China.  It is grown primarily as an ornamental though the fruits of certain forms have long been prized and used for candying or "crystallizing" whole.  Its commercial culture appears to be confined largely to the province of Liguria, Italy.  Elsewhere it is an attractive and useful ornamental.

At least four forms or varieties of myrtle-leaf orange are recognized and there are doubtless several clones of each.  Three of these forms have leaves which resemble those of the myrtle; the leaves of the fourth are more like those of the boxwood."


Not commercially available in California.


USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network page for Myrtifolia sour orange (CRC 3290)


Photos by David Karp, CVC, 3/3/2008.
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