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Learn the History of the Meyer Lemon Tree

Of all dwarf citrus trees, the Improved Meyer Lemon is one of the hardiest and easiest to grow. It is also extremely productive. The dwarf Improved Meyer Lemon is not a true lemon though. In fact, the mature fruit of the Meyer lemon tree looks more like a large orange with a small nipple - which is fitting - since the Meyer lemon is a natural hybrid of sweet orange and lemon. It makes a delicious lemon substitute nonetheless.

The Meyer lemon flesh is a light orange-yellow color, with juice sweeter than that of most lemons. This compact dwarf citrus tree grows well in most U.S. climates, but is not often commercially cultivated. The main reason for this is its thin skin, which makes the Improved Meyer Lemon difficult to ship safely.

Introduced to the United States (from China) in the early twentieth century, it was discovered by Frank N. Meyer, who was on assignment from the USDA as an agricultural explorer. Meyer was originally hired by the USDA as a gardener and worked his way up the ranks in the USDA by studying flora in Mexico at his own expense. By the time his career was over, Meyer had introduced more than 2,500 plants to the United States.

 Why "Improved"? The Improved Meyer Lemon is relatively new. In 1975, the University of California released virus-free Meyer Lemon trees to the citrus industry. Such was necessary because old-clone Meyer Lemons generally carried tristeza and tatter leaf viruses. In 1976, the California Department of Food and Agriculture ruled that propagation of non-improved Meyer Lemon trees should be stopped. Currently, when a legitimate nursery or citrus farm propagates Meyer Lemon trees through grafting techniques, it uses budwood that originated in the California Virus Free Budwood Program.

LemonCitrusTree stocks the Improved Meyer Lemon Tree up to the age of 5 years old. To purchase your own Meyer Lemon Tree just visit the Meyer Lemon Tree Product Page. If you are interested in learning more about the care of Meyer Lemon Trees & other Dwarf Citrus please visit our Citrus Tree Care Section. If you have a specific problem with your Meyer Lemon Tree or other Dwarf Citrus Tree please visit our Problem Solver FAQ or call us at 229-299-5555.