The pomelo, pummelo or in scientific terms Citrus maxima
or Citrus grandis
, is the largest citrus fruit from the family Rutaceae and the principal ancestor
of the grapefruit
. It is a natural, i.e., non-hybrid, citrus fruit
, native to Southeast Asia
. Similar in taste to a sweet grapefruit, the pomelo is commonly consumed and used for festive occasions throughout Southeast Asia. Like the grapefruit, the pomelo has the potential for drug interactions
. The tree is widely cultivated for its edible fruit in tropical and subtropical regions. It is especially popular in Thailand where a range of excellent quality cultivars have been developed. These forms are usually small trees with a spreading habit; fruit with thin rind and firm, crisp flesh, not very juicy; fruit often seedless or with shrivelled seed
The pomelo is a citrus fruit, usually a pale green to yellow when ripe, larger than a grapefruit, with sweet flesh and thick spongy rind. The largest citrus in the world, the pummelo can reach 12" in diameter. The pummelo tree may be 16 to 50 ft tall, with a somewhat crooked trunk 4 to 12 in thick, and low, irregular branches. Some forms are distinctly dwarfed. The young branchlets are angular and often densely hairy, and there are usually spines on the branchlets, old limbs and trunk. Technically compound but appearing simple, having one leaflet, the leaves are alternate, ovate, ovate-oblong, or elliptic, 5-20 cm long, 2-12 cm wide, leathery, dull-green, glossy above, dull and minutely hairy beneath. Leaves have a distinctly winged stalk. The flowers are fragrant, borne singly or in clusters of 2 to 10 in the leaf axils, or sometimes 10 to 15 in terminal racemes 4 to 12 in long; rachis and calyx hairy; the 4 to 5 petals, yellowish-white, 1.5-3.5 cm long, somewhat hairy on the outside and dotted with yellow-green glands; stamens white, prominent, in bundles of 4 to 5, anthers orange. The pomelo is native to Southeast Asia and all of Malaysia, and grows wild on river banks in Fiji, Tonga, and Hawaii. It may have been introduced into China around 100 B.C. Pomelo is also known as a "shaddock," after an English sea captain, Captain Shaddock, who introduced the seed to the West Indies in the 17th century from the Malay Archipelago.
Even if the fruit is of inferior quality, the tree may still be grown for the medicinal applications of leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds, including the treatment of coughs, fevers and gastric disorders. An essential oil is obtained from the flowers. The aromatic flowers are used to make perfume in Vietnam. The leaves are put into the bath water to add a refreshing aroma. The wood is used for tool handles.