I inherited 3 trees when I bought my house and all three have thorns on the branches with two trees having what appear to be lemons with orange highlights. When opened they have a very thick skin, are easy to peel and have a light orange and lemon smell. They are not sweet and not as tart as a lemon but edible nonetheless. The third tree has what I think are lemons and limes but they are all small and mostly I think to be limes. I cant seem to find any grafting on the trees, however they are over 5 years old.

What the heck is going on here? Does anyone have any idea what they might be?

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  • 5
    Pictures would greatly improve this question. As would information about where in the world these trees are.
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 9, 2016 at 1:31
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citron ??
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 9, 2016 at 2:01
  • Lemon trees often have thorns and the fruit can get to get a light orange colour without becoming overripe. You definitely need to include pictures of your trees, including the thorns and fruit for identification.
    – CJ Dennis
    Feb 9, 2016 at 6:21
  • Lemons generally have a distinct and strong lemon flafor. Hybribs are common
    – J. Musser
    Feb 10, 2016 at 1:50
  • Include a photo of the leaves also
    – renesis
    Feb 10, 2016 at 3:53

2 Answers 2


I would guess that is a tangelo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangelo

The 'characteristic "nipple" at the stem' (from wikipedia) seems to hold true for the photo.

The fruit looks ok but not fantastic, the leaves are mostly healthy but show a slight yellowing. I would foliar spray with manganese, water in some iron chelate and mound around the drip line with sheep manure (or goat/cow/horse, not chicken) and mulch well. It's also a good idea to clean up the dropped fruit to avoid encouraging pests.

  • In my experience, tangelo trees are thornless. Also, tangelos tend to be larger (though there could be environmental factors at play causing the fruit to be less than ideal size).
    – Fondor1
    Feb 15, 2016 at 20:17

Could be a mandarin. As mentioned above, hybrids are quite common. Also if it is a mandarin, the fruit will taste sour (like a lemon or lime) if it is not ripening properly, or is lacking in vitamins.

  • 1
    The fruit are approximately 3" in diameter and they are fairly sour. So what vitamins are we talking about and what do you mean by ripening properly?
    – Marvin
    Feb 11, 2016 at 2:14
  • I don't have enough knowledge about specific vitamins, but I'd say Nitrogen based on the yellow-ish leaves in the photo. By ripening properly, I mean if the tree is deficient it may drop the fruit before it is ready, to save energy. This would usually mean the fruit looks unripe, so perhaps this is not the case as the skin looks quite orange rather than yellow/green.
    – Viv
    Feb 11, 2016 at 6:21
  • Thanks for the help, I will go to the local nursery for the appropriate food/vitamins and or Nitrogen.
    – Marvin
    Feb 11, 2016 at 21:40

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