Old Indian lemon

Citrus limon L. Burm.f.

CRC 4211


Received as budwood from Jerry Sortomme, Sacred Garden at Mission Santa Barbara, 2009.


Purportedly a seedling tree planted ages ago from fruit picked at the Old Indian Orchard that was located near Foothill Rd and San Marcos Road.

Rootstocks of accession

Schaub rough lemon.

Season of ripeness at Riverside

Unknown at this time.

Notes and observations

"...the 'Old Indian' Lemon tree growing in the Sacred Garden at Old Mission S.B. purportedly a seedling tree planted ages ago from fruit picked at the Old Indian Orchard that was located near Foothill Rd and San Marcos Road. The orchard is now gone, but this orchard site grew many ancient trees from the mission era.

"Bruce Van Dyke has identified this lemon tree as being an old non commercial strain of lemon that indeed cam from early California times.

"Old Indian Lemon fruit is a pretty yellow color, medium size, is juice and tasty, usually having an asymmetrically positioned peeling-point situated on the far lower apex point of the lemon. Often seeds are found germinating within the ripe fruit. The seeds germinate rather easily and we have germinated a batch and have one cutting that was propagated by Bruce Van Dyke onto an orange tree root sucker branch." (email from donor Jerry Sortomme, 11/05/2007)

"...Bruce Van Dyke, he is one of the most apt elder Santa Barbara horticulturists. He grafted scion wood of this specific ancient-type lemon in our orchard, and it is alive, but not thriving. I hope he can graft more of this scion clone in our La Huerta living museum this spring season.

"Bruce's comments, was critiquing and describing the phenotypic qualities of this old lemon tree's fruit.

" 'At the La Huerta Project we have propagated seedlings from the fruit of this old lone tree that grows within the confines of the inner "sacred garden" of the Old Mission. Others have expressed the belief that this atypical (not modern-like) lemon tree is a seedling tree planted many, many years ago from lemon tree stock that grew at the Old Indian Orchard that existed near the Santa Barbara location of Foothill Road and the San Marcos Pass Road. The owner of that orchard land is still or was Chumash elder Ernestine DeSoto. She is alive and fit.'


Not commercially available in California.


USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network page for Old Indian lemon

Photos by David Karp & Toni Siebert Wooldridge
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