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Citrus medica


Citrus medica L.

Family Name: Rutaceae
Common Name: Fingered Citron, Buddha's Fingers, Buddha's Hand, 佛手, 香橼


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 3 m


Native Distribution India
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Small, shrubby tree up to 3 m tall.
Foliage Large, oblong leaves have wavy leaf margins. The leaf blade bulges between the veins, creating a wrinkled surface.
Flowers White, star-shaped flowers are composed of about 7 narrow, linear petals and a cluster of long, white stamens.
Fruit Golden fruits have finger-like projections that resemble a hand (15-30 cm long). The fruit lacks pulp or seeds and is filled with a white, spongy tissue known as albedo. Immature fruits are purplish to dark brown.
Cultivation When grown in a large container, this cultivar grows up to 0.3-0.9 m tall.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Fruits
Food (Fruit & Vegetable): The mature rind is very fragrant and smells like violets or osmanthus.
Medicinal: According to traditional Chinese medicine, the immature fruit peel can be used to make a tonic.
Cultural / Religious: In China, the fruit symbolizes longevity and happiness. In Japan, the fruits are thought to bring good luck and are given as gifts during the New Year.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Fruits, Fragrant (Fruits)
Landscape Uses General, Container Planting, Bonsai
Thematic Landscaping Fragrant / Aromatherapy Garden, Economic Garden
Usage Hazard - Cons Spines/Thorns - Stem/Branch

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast to Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting (Semi-Hardwood), Leaf Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Purple
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Acute

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual & Bisexual Flowers(Sub-dioecious)
Flower Colour(s) Pink, White
Flower Texture(s) Smooth, Gloss / Shiny
Flower Grouping Solitary, Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Inflorescence Type Raceme
Flowering Period Free-Flowering

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Rough, Bumpy / Tuberculate
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)

Image Repository



Master ID 30847
Species ID 5217
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 13 December 2022.