Leaf of the Day: Pink Lemon Blossom…and the Odd Story of Pink Lemonade

The Pink Lemon Citrus limon, Eureka Variegated, is really pretty right now. The blossom is so fragrant and the buds are a beautiful pink too. The Eureka varieties originated in California, developed from a group of seedlings of Italian origin, from seed said to have been planted in 1858.
Apart from bearing delicious lemons this is a very pretty tree with variegated green and white leaves. Like the stripy orangequat I drew here, the rind of the young lemons is striped green and cream . When fully ripe, the stripes fade, and the rind turns yellow with distinct pink tinges.

Pink Lemon, Leu Gardens August 2008

The flesh of these delightfully stripy lemons is a pinky colour but is not however the pink of pink lemonade.. Chow hound here explains how the drink may have got its name..
“The pink drink first appeared in the United States around the mid-1800s, though its origins and inventor are sometimes disputed. In one story, red cinnamon hearts accidentally were added to a batch of lemonade at a carnival concession. But according to carnival historian Joe Nickell, in his 2005 book Secrets of the Sideshows, a man named Pete Conklin who ran a circus lemonade and peanut concession actually was the one who invented the drink. One day in 1857, while Conklin was making regular lemonade, he ran out of water. In desperation, he used the pink water from a tub that one of the bareback riders had used to wash her red tights. Unfazed, Conklin added some lemon slices and sold the concoction as “strawberry lemonade,” promptly doubling his sales. And, as they say, when life gives you lemons …. “

I brought this little sprig home to draw with just one blossom opened, nestled in between the pink buds…it’s very pretty and smells beautiful too.

Pink Lemon Blossom

Watercolour on Arches Not 5″ x 7″

Leaf of the Day: Pummelo, Pumelo, Pomelo.. whatever

When I was writing about the Contorted Orange the other day (here) I felt sure that Leu would have a Pummelo. They would just have to have a specimen of this very early citrus, and sure enough there it was, with many other varieties in the citrus garden and another “windfall” for me yesterday as one large fruit had fallen on the ground. It is huge. I have a picture of the fruit on the tree but also this one on a plate with a regular sized lemon and a pencil so you can see how absoutely enormous it is.

This one is the well named Goliath Pummelo, Citrus maxima, and to recap a little, it is one of the first 4 citrus fruits from which the modern varieties are descended. It is thought that the basic orange we all know and love, is a cross between this monster and a mandarin. Little and large makes medium I guess. It was considered more a curiosity than a good eating fruit and something of a talking point for tropical fruit displays. A tricky addition to Carmen Miranda’s topknots though!

Additionally, Wiki tells me that “The 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.”
I will, annoyingly, now remember this little bit of trivia, as I can’t get Tintin’s Captain Haddock out of my head.

But the leaves, the leaves are a nice surprise, not quite as simple as a normal citrus these have a winged part to the lower, a winged petiole to be exact.
A very worthy leaf of the day.

I had also forgotten that there was a pummelo in the “Amazing Rare Things” exhibition (see my other posts here), how could I ! Also a Buddha’s hand citrus which I wrote about before here.

Both are attributed to Vincenzo Leonardi 1621-c.1646 who was producing drawings for the collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo and provided illustrations for Giovanni Battist Ferrari’s “Hesperides” of 1646, a treatise on citrus cultivation. It is fascinating and the digitised version of the book is online here

You can see the slightly winged shape at the base of the leaf here but it is much more pronounced in my leaf from Leu.

The Pumello.

Pummelo, whole fruit and half …c1640

And Vincenzo’s drawing of the Buddhas Hand citron, known here as the “digitated lemon”.

Digitated Lemon …c 1640

There is something about these wonderful old images which some modern works lack..I feel we sometimes go for perfection rather than character, something I will try to keep in mind.


Pummelo Leaf