The citrus fruits list is very long, and they are all tangy, zesty, and packed full of flavor. The taste you’ll get with various citrus fruits ranges from sour and sweet flavors that delight, refresh, and invigorate each taste bud. There are over 100 different citrus fruit varieties available, and we’ve rounded up to the top 20 most popular for this citrus fruits list. Citrus fruits like limes or lemons can be sour, while others like oranges are very delicious and have a slightly tangy and sweet taste. If you’re curious as to what’s out there, look at our citrus fruits list below.
Defining Citrus Fruits
Everything on this citrus fruits list that you buy in the store or grow in your garden are hybrids of the three natural citrus fruits. The original species that all of these hybrids came from include the citron, mandarin orange, and pomelo. Citrus is the botanical name that refers to a genus of all fruits that fall onto a citrus fruits list or category. All citrus fruits types, including lemons, orange, limes, and grapefruits belong to the Rutaceae family. The tangy fruits in this genus usually have juicy segments that get surrounded by a zesty rind.
You can tell which fruits are citrus fruits and which aren’t by the botanical name. All citrus fruit types come with citrus in the name. Other tropical fruits like bananas, pineapples, grapes, mangoes, and peaches aren’t citrus fruits. They fall into the plant genera that is unrelated to the citrus fruits list. Other fruit types like kiwifruits, pomegranate, and passion fruit also aren’t citrus fruits.
Citrus Fruit History
The citrus family of fruits are native to the subtropical regions of the Malay Archipelago and Asia. The large variety of citrus fruit we see today evolved from small berries over the course of millions of years.
The first member on the citrus fruits list originated in Europe around roughly 310 BC, and they were the only citrus fruit for several centuries. During this time, it is widely believed that lemons, limes, and oranges were quickly catching on in Italy. In China, sweet oranges hit the advanced stage of cultivation before they introduced them to Europe. Han Yen-chin’s “Monograph on the Oranges ofWên-chou, Chekiang” detailed citrus fruit and 27 orange varieties.
The modern citrus fruits we see today are hybrids from the three original species, as we touched on earlier. The common citrus fruits list came from crossing these three original ones, and we’ll list 20 popular ones below.
Citrus Fruit List – 20 Types
A citrus fruit list has been around since ancient times, and to date, markets are packed with dozens of varieties of luscious and bright lemons, oranges, and zesty choices. The following are very popular options that you can find in most grocery store settings.
1. Blood Orange
- Famous Varieties: Tarocco and Sanguinello
- Origin: Southern Mediterranean
- Species: Citrus sinensis
Even though the first entry on the citrus fruit list has a very sinister sounding name, the name actually comes from the deep red coloring you’ll see in the fruit’s pulp. This color is from anthocyanins, and this is a very uncommon antioxidant that you find in citrus fruit. Sometimes, the dark red-hued tone will bleed into the fruit’s rind, and the rind is very tough, thick, and hard to peel. The blood orange is a natural mutation of a traditional orange that has a very raspberry-like taste. You’ll also get the usual tart and sweet flavors of citrus fruit. Because of this, blood oranges are popular ingredients in salads, marmalade, and Italian soda.
2. Bitter Orange
- Famous Varieties: Bouquet de Fleurs and Laraha
- Origin: Southeast Asia
- Species: Citrus × aurantium
As you may have guessed from the name, this entry on the citrus fruits list is very bitter and sour, and most people find that they can’t eat the fruit’s flesh. Bitter orange is a cross between the pomelo and the mandarin orange, and it has a very wrinkled appearance. The sour flavor comes from the acidic juices, and the bitter taste derives from the essential oils that are present. Bitter oranges are also called Seville oranges, and they’re very commonly used to create marmalade. Also, they’re popular for use in the orange-flavored liqueur called triple sec.
3. Buddha’s Hand
- Origin: Far East
- Species: Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis
One of the creepiest entries on the citrus fruits list is Buddha’s Hand. It gets the name because it looks like the fingers you see on Buddha drawings and depictions. This is a citron variety that can take on many different forms, open fingers, open-fingered, and dwarf-fingered. This strange type of fruit doesn’t come with juice or pulp, so you only use the zest to create liqueurs, desserts, or other dishes. In China, you use this fruit as a symbol of longevity or good fortune, and it is a very traditional offering at the temple during the New Year celebrations.
- Origin: Philippines, Taiwan, Southern China, Sulawesi, and Borneo
- Species: Citrus microcarpa
Also called calamansi, this rounded, small citrus fruit list entry has an orangish-red skin, juicy acidic flesh, and a very thin skin. This fruit is a hybrid of the mandarin orange and kumquat, and the pulp on this fruit is sour and acidic, but the peel is surprisingly sweet. In Asian food, the sour pulp is commonly used to marinate pork, fish, or fowl. There is a Floridian variety of this fruit that has undertones of tangerine, apricot, guava, lemon, and pineapple.
- Famous Varieties: Florentine and Corsica
- Origin: India
- Species: Citrus medica
With this entrant of the citrus fruits list, we’re back to square one. Citron is one of the three original citrus fruit species that all other citrus fruits are hybridized from. It has a very thick rind with a strong fragrance. Unlike many other citrus species, the pulp is very dry. However, this doesn’t mean that people don’t find uses for it. Citron rind is popular for making sweets and candies. It also has several medicinal uses attached to it, like helping with skin diseases, nausea, hemorrhoids, and for getting parasites out of your body.
- Origin: Algeria
- Species: Citrus × clementina.
Clementines look like a smaller version of the traditional orange, but it has a thinner skin and a sweeter taste, and it’s easier to peel. Clementines are seedless fruits that are directly related to mandarin oranges. You can tell these fruits apart from tangerines because the zesty rind they have is deeper orange when it comes to the color. You also get a honey-sweet taste with a slightly sour overtone. The clementine is a hybrid of the sweet orange and the mandarin.
7. Finger Lime
- Origin: Australia
- Species: Citrus australasica
Also known as the caviar lime, this citrus fruit list entrant is an elongated lime that looks like a finger. When you cut it open, this odd citrus fruit has globular juice sacs that look a lot like caviar or fish eggs. The vesicles or pearls will five you a burst of very sour and tangy flavors that are very close to lime. Because of this taste, you use this fruit to make specialized marmalades. You can also strip off the peel, dry it, and use it as a flavoring spice.
- Famous Varieties: Oro Blanco and Ruby Red
- Origin: Barbados
- Species: Citrus × paradisi
The grapefruit is one entry on the citrus fruits list that is thought to be an accidental hybrid of the pomelo and common orange. You know it as a grapefruit as it grows as part of a large cluster on fruit trees, and these clusters are very similar to what you see with grapes. It’s a very popular fruit for breakfast, and it has a sour and semi-sweet taste that is slightly bitter. The pulp of this fruit can be pink, white, or red in color, depending on the cultivar you pick out. In countries in the Caribbean, it’s common to use grapefruit to make various sweets.
9. Key Lime
- Famous Varieties: Tahitian and Persian lime
- Origin: Southeast Asia
- Species: Citrus × aurantiifolia
Many people love key lime pie, and the yellow, small fruit that makes this cool dessert looks more like a lemon than a lime. It’s usually green when you harvest it but it turns yellow as it ripens. Unlike how sour lemons are, the lime has a sweeter flavor with a stronger scent. In the Middle East, it’s common to boil this fruit in brine and dry it to make a condiment called black lime. The Persian lime is the most famous variety you can get, and it’s a seedless fruit that is bigger than the Key lime and stays fresh longer. It is also much less bitter.
- Famous Varieties: Hong Kong Wild and Nagami
- Origin: South Asia and Asia Pacific region
- Species: Citrus japonica
This tasty citrus fruit list entry is very similar in taste and color to the sweet orange fruit, but it has a much smaller size that is in line with a big olive. Kumquat actually means “golden tangerine” in Cantonese. The Japanese cultivar you eat whole with both the pulp and rind. This is because the skin is very sweet with a sour pulp center. Eating it whole gives you a refreshing, tart taste. It’s a popular ingredient used to make multiple desserts and marmalades.
- Famous Varieties: Bonnie Bray and Eureka
- Origin: North Eastern India, South Asia
- Species: Citrus limon
There is an old adage that says, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” and this is a nod to the extremely sour and unique taste of this fruit. Lemons have a sour taste that comes from the high acid levels in the juice that makes it a nice cleaning agent. This yellow, small fruit is popular to use in cooking, baking, aromatherapy, cleaning, and making beverages like lemonade.
- Famous Varieties: Kaffer and Philippine
- Origin: Southeast Asia.
- Species: Citrus × aurantifolia or Citrus × latifolia
Limes feature a deep green color that has a sour taste, and it’s not nearly as sweet as lemons. There are several types of limes available, and there are a few on this citrus fruits list. The Persian and Key lime varieties are the most common ones. Limes usually come with a darker green rind with a yellowish-green flesh. You can tell when your lime gets ripe because the skin will turn a yellow color.
13. Mandarin Orange
- Famous Varieties: Dancy and Sunburst
- Origin: China
- Species: Citrus reticulata
Also called mandarine or mandarin, these oranges look and taste a lot like the sweet orange variety. Instead of the more spherical shape you’ll get with common oranges, this one is oblate. They are also less sour and sweeter than traditional oranges. The fruit is rumored to have medicinal properties in Chinese culture, and people eat it to help treat phlegm and abdominal-related issues. They are also the traditional symbol of luck and abundance, and you find them displayed all over during the Chinese New Year.
- Famous Varieties: Valencia and Hamlin
- Origin: Southeast Asia, Southern China, and Northeastern Asia
- Species: Citrus x sinensis
Also called the sweet orange, this citrus species is a hybrid of the mandarin and pomelo. It’s a very juicy fruit that grows in subtropical and tropical regions, and it’s been around for thousands of years. The earliest written record of this citrus fruit list is in 314 BC in Chinese literature. In 1987, oranges were the single most cultivated fruit in the world.
- Famous Varieties: Sweet orange and tangerine
- Origin: South and Southeast Asia
- Species: Citrus × maxima
Pummelo, pomelo, or shaddock is one of the three original fruit species on this citrus fruits list. They gave birth to hundreds of other citrus species that we see today on the market. This fruit is usually very pale yellow or light green in color, and it’s slightly bigger. Generally, it weighs in at two to four pounds. It has a sweet white, red, or pink flesh when you open it, and it has a mild sweet flavor that is like a mild grapefruit. It also doesn’t have the bitterness of the grapefruit. Sometimes, you may find the rind of this fruit used to make a marmalade or dipped in chocolate. It’s also popular for aromatic baths.
- Origin: China
- Species: Citrus unshiu
Even though this citrus fruit list number originated in China, it was Japan that introduced it to the West. This is a type of mandarin orange or tangerine, and this is a seedless citrus fruit that tastes very sweet. These easy-peeling, small oranges are also called the satsuma mandarin or the satsuma orange. One of the biggest reasons why this fruit is so popular is because it has a very intense sweetness. Even though it looks very similar to a traditional mandarin orange, it has a more delicate flesh with a thinner skin.
- Famous Varieties: Orlando and Minneola
- Origin: United States
- Species: Citrus tangelo
Tangelos are a cross between a mandarin and a grapefruit, and you may hear it called honeybells. This entrant on the citrus fruit list is very easy to tell from others because it has a characteristic knob on the stem area. It also comes with a looser skin that is very easy to peel off, and it has a lot of juice with a tart, tangy flavor. The flavor makes them a very nice substitute to use in place of sweet oranges or mandarins when you cook.
- Famous Varieties: Clementine and Algerian Tangerine
- Origin: Morocco
- Species: Citrus tangerina
The tangerine is supposed to be a hybrid of the mandarin orange, and it has some pomelo DNA mixed in. So, it’s a variety of the famous Clementine orange. This citrus is a class of orangish-red mandarin variety. It got the name because it originated in Morocco in the seaport of Tangier. This is a much sweeter fruit than most common oranges, and it has a lower acid concentration level. Some varieties are also seedless, like the Clementine, and they have a loose rind that is easy to peel.
19. Ugli Fruit
- Famous Varieties: Sweet orange and tangerine
- Origin: Jamaica
- Species: Citrus reticulata × paradisi
Also called the Jamaican tangelo, uniq fruit, or ugli fruit, it has a very odd look from the outside. However, you shouldn’t let the appearance deceive you as it’s one of the tastiest types of green citrus fruits available. It’s a cross between the grapefruit, tangerine, and orange. The result is a very juicy fruit that has all of the sweetness you get with a tangerine, a highly fragrant rind, and none of the bitterness that grapefruit have.
Ugli Fruit by Troy B. Thompson / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
- Famous Varieties: Yuko and Dangyuja
- Origin: Central China and Tibet
- Species: Citrus x junos
The final fruit on the citrus fruit list is similar to a smaller grapefruit that has a wrinkled skin. It’s very aromatic, and it can be green or yellow in color, depending on the level of ripeness. You’ll get a very tart flavor that is very like a grapefruit, and it has mandarin overtones. However, the Japanese variety is sweet and called yuko. You rarely eat this as a fruit, but you use the juice and rind in Asian dishes, including yuzu tea, ponzu sauce, drinks, and sweets. The sharp oil in the rind is used to create a perfume. In Japan, it’s common to float whole yuzu fruit in baths during the winter solstice to encourage them to release their fragrance.
Citrus Fruit Health Benefits
There are many health benefits that come from eating the fruits we put on the citrus fruits list. Not only are they packed with a zesty and tangy flavor, but they’re full of vitamins and minerals that are good for your health. The following are the biggest reasons why you should consider adding more citrus fruit to your diet:
- Dietary Fiber – Citrus fruits are a great source of dietary fiber. Fiber works to improve your digestive system, aids with weight loss, and lowers the bad cholesterol levels.
- Mineral Content – There are several minerals in citrus fruits that help to maintain your bone health and regulate your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- Plant Compounds – There are several plant compounds that work as all-natural and safe antioxidants with anti-inflammatory agents.
- Reduces Disease Risk – There is emerging research that shows eating citrus fruits lowers your chances of certain diseases, including esophageal, pancreatic, and stomach cancers.
- Reduces Hypertension – Minerals like potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus work to reduce hypertension, and they’re commonly used as antidepressants because they have a mood-enhancing effect. So, eating citrus can keep you healthy and happy.
- Vitamin C Content – They are packed with vitamin C, and this vitamin works to strengthen your immune system and help your body fight off the flu, common, cold and viruses.
Besides being chock full of nutrients, most citrus fruits list contenders as having lower calories. So, if you’re trying to lose weight and have a frequent sweet tooth, eating citrus fruits can satisfy your appetite without skewing your calories.
How to Store Citrus Fruits
If you plan on using the things you bought off of the citrus fruits list inside of a week, it’s safe to leave them sitting out on your counter. The skin is too thick to attract any bugs, and the fruit will give you the most juice when they’re at room temperature. However, if you want to keep them around for more than a week, you should put it in the refrigerator. Keep them in the produce bin away from your vegetables like broccoli and onions as they can make them go bad quicker. Stored in the refrigerator, they can last for several weeks.
How to Use Citrus Fruits
Before we dive into this section, it’s always best to start by using organic fruits that you scrubbed clean. While this isn’t imperative for each recipe, it is very important when you plan on using the peels to eat. If you can afford the slightly higher price tag, organic is always the way to go if you don’t grow your own.
Candy the Peels
Candied citrus fruit peels do have a decent amount of sugar, but they’re more nutritious than store-bought candy. They’re also very easy to make. First, you’ll zest your citrus peel into big chunks using a paring knife or a peeler. Next, put a cup of peels into a pot of water and add enough water to cover the peels. Bring the water to a boil before reducing the heat and simmer it for 10 minutes.
Drain the water and repeat this process two more times. Then, you’ll heat ½ cup of sugar with ¼ cup of water until it boils. Add the peel to the sugar water and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the peels using a slotted spoon, dust with more sugar, and allow them to air dry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can also dry them in a dehydrator. Once they’re dry, you can transfer them to a container and store them in a dry, cool place for three months.
Another very simple way to use up your citrus fruit peels is to make an infusion of vinegar that you can use as a natural, all-purpose cleaner. All you have to do is take your fresh peels and put them into a big jar before covering them with white vinegar. You can keep adding new peels as you use them, including lemon, lime, or orange.
Allow your mix to sit for a few weeks before straining out the vinegar into the bottle and get rid of the peels. Store it in a dark, cool place. You should dilute it with an equal amount of water and transfer it to a spray bottle when you’re ready to use it. You can use it on sinks, floors, toilets, and tubs or any other surface. You won’t want to use it on marble though as marble will stain from the vinegar.
A food dehydrator is great for drying because it speeds up the process over air drying by a significant amount, and it won’t burn the fruit. To dehydrate anything on our citrus fruits list, you slice them into ¼-inch thick rounds and get rid of the seeds. Put a single layer on the dehydrator tray and dry them for 6 to 10 hours at 135-degrees F. Once they’re dry, you can store them in an airtight jar in a dark, cool place. Rehydrate your slices and add them to several dishes, or you can add the dried slices to homemade potpourri.
You can use dried fruit peels in a huge amount of ways, including making bath and body products or tea and medicine. You want to buy organic or grow your own and wash them well before you use them. When you’re ready, peel your citrus fruit to use the flesh and break the peels up into smaller pieces and dry them to use later. You can air dry them, bake them on the lowest setting in your oven, or dehydrate them. Once they are dry, you’ll transfer them to a jar and core them in a dry, dark, and cool space.
To zest your items, you’ll thinly peel or grate the outer layer of the peel on the fruit with a paring knife, fine grater, or a vegetable peeler. Avoid the white, bitter pith. You can use the fresh zest right away or let it air dry to preserve it. To dry the zest, spread it in a thin layer over your baking tray and allow it to dry in an area that has low humidity. Once it’s dry, transfer it to a jar or airtight container and store it in a dark, cool place. You can substitute the dried zest for fresh in any recipe you like. The zest will be good for a long time, but it will start to get less potent after a few months.
These 20 fruits on our citrus fruits list are very versatile, and you can use them in a huge number of ways if you don’t want to eat them fresh. You can grow them in your own garden or buy them from the store and discover the tangy, bright, and zesty taste they offer.