It’s a relative newcomer, not even 300 years old, this large citrus delight we call grapefruit. It was once thought to have been a spontaneous sport of the pummelo (a fruit similar to grapefruit). In 1837 James MacFayden, in his book “Flora of Jamaica,” separated the grapefruit from the pummelo and gave it the botanical name Citrus paradisi. However by 1948 citrus specialists decided this was incorrect, that the grapefruit was really an accidental hybrid between the pummelo and the orange.
From that point on the fruit’s botanical name is accepted as Citrus x paradisi. The word grapefruit is believed to have derived from the manner in which grapefruit grows on the tree: in clusters.
Once known as the “forbidden fruit” and the “smaller shaddock” after the captain who brought the pummelo seeds to the West Indies, the grapefruit appeared in this country in 1832 in Tampa, Florida. It did not gain immediate popularity. One American gardening ...
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