Myrtifolia sour orange (CRC 4164)

Citrus myrtifolia Rafinesque
Citrus aurantium var. myrtifolia

CRC 4164
PI 658359
VI 690  


Received as trees from the Citrus Clonal Protection Program, 2006.


Parents unknown. Donated to J. Semancik, most probably from N. Onelge, A. Cinar, University of Cukurova, Turkey. Supposed to be a selection of Turkish origin.

Rootstocks of accession

Carrizo citrange, Rubidoux trifoliate

Season of ripeness at Riverside

January to March

Notes and observations

12/2006, RRK:  Apparently a selection of C. myrtifolia made in Turkey. The myrtle-leaf group of sour oranges represents a distinctive type. It is currently unclear how the present selection may differ from other myrtle-leaf types in the collection.

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."


Commercially available in California through the Citrus Clonal Protection ProgramClick here to order budwood.


USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network page for Citrus myrtifolia (CRC 4164)


Photos by David Karp and Toni Siebert, CVC, 3/3/2008.
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