NAME: Wild Asian Lemon (this editor's choice) or Hardy Orange (although it looks, tastes, and smells like a lemon/grapefruit cross, NOT AN ORANGE AT ALL!)

SPECIES / FAMILY: Poncirus Trifoliata / Citrus Trifoliate / Rutaceae

OTHER COMMON NAME(S): Trifoliate orange, Japanese bitter-orange, hardy orange, or Chinese bitter orange.

CONDITIONS: sun/partial shade


EDIBLE cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520





























































COMMENT: The flavor is a cross between lemon and grapefruit. Although PFAF (1) calls for the fruit to be cooked, The Green Deane (2) doesn't when used as a juice. // Fruit - cooked. A bitter and acrid flavour, but it can be used to make a marmalade. The fruit is also used to make a refreshing drink. The freshly picked fruit yields little juice but if stored for 2 weeks it will yield about 20% juice. The fruit peel can be used as a flavouring. Young leaves - cooked.(1) The fruit, minus, seeds, was also made into a not-sweet marmalade. In China the bitter fruits were used as seasoning (dried and powdered) and young leaves are occasionally boiled and eaten. Fresh fruit allowed to sit for two weeks after picking yields about 20% juice which can be diluted and made into a drink. (2)


CAUTION: Warning for anyone with citrus allergies -  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321764.php#symptoms


NUTRITION/MEDICINAL:  High in Vitamin C.  Antiemetic;  Antispasmodic;  Carminative;  Deobstruent;  Digestive;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Laxative; 

Odontalgic;  Stimulant;  Stomachic;  Vasoconstrictor.(1) In Chinese medicine it has been used to treat typhoid, toothache, hemorrhoids, conjunctivitis, colds and itchy skin.(2)  Read more at bottom...






OTHER USES: This tree is used as a root-stock for grafting other citrus fruits.(4) potpourri, used as a natural fence and have often been used to corral livestock. The thorns are sturdy enough to puncture a tire or use as a tooth pick. The wood is extremely is hard and dense, the bark striped with green, stems are triangular.()


SOURCE LINKS (may include nutritional and medicinal info, plus other uses):

  1. https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Poncirus+trifoliata
  2. http://www.eattheweeds.com/hardy-orange
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trifoliate_orange
  4. http://www.foragingtexas.com/2007/07/trifoliate-orangebitter-orangehardy.html (good photos)
  5. https://www.phillyorchards.org/2019/11/01/plant-spotlight-trifoliate-orange
  6. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/trifoliate-orange-tree/trifoliate-dragon-orange-tree.htm

From The Green Deane - https://www.eattheweeds.com/hardy-orange

Herb Blurb

1996 Nov;54(2-3):77-84.

Antianaphylactic activity of Poncirus trifoliata fruit extract.

Source: Department of Oriental Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Wonkwang University, Seoul, South Korea.


The effect of an aqueous extract of Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf. (Rutaceae) fruits (PTFE) on compound 48/80-induced mortality associated with anaphylaxis was studied in rats. PTFE inhibited compound 48/80-induced anaphylaxis 100% with a dose of 1.6 mg/g body weight (BW) 1 h before or 5 min after injection of compound 48/80. PTFE inhibited compound 48/80-induced anaphylaxis almost 100% with doses above 0.4 mg/g BW intraperitoneally administered. PTFE (1-1000 micrograms/ml) also dose-dependently inhibited the histamine release induced by compound 48/80 (5 micrograms/ml) in rat peritoneal mast cells. The level of cAMP in peritoneal mast cells, when PTFE was added, increased transiently, and significantly increased 53-fold at 10 s compared with that of basal cells. Moreover, PTFE inhibited intracellular calcium release induced by compound 48/80. These results suggest that PTFE has antianaphylactic activity by stabilizing the peritoneal mast cell membrane.

1999 Apr;22(4):422-4.

Anti-Helicobacter pylori activity of the metabolites of poncirin from Poncirus trifoliata by human intestinal bacteria.

Source: College of Pharmacy, Kyung-Hee University, Seoul, Korea.


Poncirin was isolated from water extract of the fruits of Poncirus trifoliata and metabolized by human intestinal bacteria. The inhibitory effect of poncirin and its metabolites by these bacteria on the growth of Helicobacter pylori (HP) was investigated. Among them, ponciretin (5,7-dihydroxy-4′-methoxyflavanone), the main metabolite most potently inhibited the growth of HP, with a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 10-20 microg/ml. However, poncirin and its metabolites except ponciretin did not inhibit the growth of HP, nor did they inhibit HP urease.

Anti-inflammatory effect of Poncirus trifoliata fruit through inhibition of NF-?B activation in mast cells

Toxicology in Vitro, Volume 20, Issue 7, October 2006, Pages 10711076


Mast cell-mediated allergic inflammation is involved in many diseases such as asthma, sinusitis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Mast cells induce synthesis and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines including tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-? and interleukin (IL)-6 with immune regulatory properties. We investigated the effect of the fruits of Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf (Rutaceae) (FPT) on expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines by activated human mast cell line, HMC-1. FPT dose dependently decreased the gene expression and production of TNF-? and IL-6 on phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and calcium ionophore A23187-stimulated HMC-1 cells. In addition, FPT attenuated PMA and A23187-induced activation of NF-?B indicated by inhibition of degradation of I?B?, nuclear translocation of NF-?B, NF-?B/DNA binding, and NF-?B-dependent gene reporter assay. Our in vitro studies provide evidence that FPT might contribute to the treatment of mast cell-derived allergic inflammatory diseases.

Poncirus trifoliata fruit induces apoptosis in human promyelocytic leukemia cells

Volume 340, Issues 12, February 2004, Pages 179185


Background: Substances inducing apoptosis have shown efficacy in the treatment of cancers. Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf. (Rutaceae) fruits (PTF) has been used for the treatment of various cancers among Korean Oriental Medical doctors. Methods: PTF-induced cytotoxicity of human leukemia HL-60 cells was monitored by the MTT assay. The apoptosis was determined by (a) apoptotic morphology in microscopy; (b) DNA fragmentation in electrophoresis and FACS analysis; and (c) activation of caspase-3 and poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) cleavage assay. Results: The cytotoxic activity of PTF in HL-60 cells was increased in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. PTF caused the cell shrinkage, cell membrane blebbing, apoptotic body and DNA fragmentation. PTF-induced apoptosis is accompanied by the activation of caspase-3 and the specific proteolytic cleavage of PARP. However, PTF did not show cytotoxicity in normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Conclusions: Our novel finding provides evidence that PTF could be a candidate as an anti-leukemic agent through apoptosis of cancer cells.