The Lisbon Lemon Tree

The Lisbon lemon is the most widely sold lemon variety in the world. It is the sour lemon most often carried by U.S. supermarkets. Its only rival for top spot is the similar Eureka lemon.

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Lemon - Variegated Pink
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.

The ripe fruit is bright yellow, 3-4 inches long, oblong with a prominent nipple on one end. The pitted rind will be medium to thick depending on growing conditions.

Dry weather causes citrus fruit skin to thicken, protecting the juicy flesh inside.

Cut a Lisbon open and the 10 greenish yellow segments of the flesh will be revealed. The fruit is tender though I don't believe many people eat it out of hand. It is lip-puckeringly tart.

The acid juice is used to flavor drinks and baked goods and in cooking.

Citrus limon 'Lisbon'

Lisbon lemon grove in California.

California Lemon Grove

This is California's most important commercial lemon tree. It was introduced into the state from Australia before 1875.

The other lemon tree grown commercially in California is the Eureka lemon. The Eureka's fruit is nearly identical to the Lisbon's but the trees are markedly different.

The Lisbon is more vigorous, more cold resistant and more tolerant of poor growing conditions. It exhibits a less open growth habit and covers its limbs more completely with foliage. These characteristics make it the better of the 2 lemon varieties to use when planting a lemon hedge.

Lisbon is the variety of sour lemon favored by inland California growers.

The tree is thorny but productive. Winter and spring is when the Lisbon produces its biggest crops but some fruit will be present on the tree almost all the time.

Lisbon lemons contain more seeds than Eureka lemons which are nearly seedless.

Another fact which may be significant to home gardeners is that most of a Lisbon's crop will appear inside the tree's canopy where you have to reach in--past the thorns--to harvest it.

The Eureka lemon tree bears its crop at the branch tips.

Lisbon lemon trees are large. They can reach 24 feet in height if they are not grafted onto dwarfing rootstock.

Cold Hardy Genoa Lemon
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.

Lemon - Lisbon
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.

Lemon - Eureka
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.

More Lemony Goodness Over Here:

Dwarf Lemon Trees Make Delightful House Plants

The Best Lemon Varieties for the Home Grower

Citrus x jambhiri: the Rough Lemon

My Best Homemade Lemon Meringe Pie Recipe

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