telling the difference between a lemon and grapefruit seedling?

gwendolyn8September 4, 2012


I have two seedlings (well, several months old, at this point) that I had labeled as both being grapefruit, but they sprouted totally differently and one of them looks exactly like what I got when I planted a lemon seed a while back.

The one I suspect might be a might be a mislabeled lemon tree sprouted with five leaves, whereas the other one that I am fairly confident is a grapefruit sprouted with four leaves.

I am including a photo of both of them, now, and the one that I suspect is a lemon tree is on the left. They actually look more similar now that they've grown out a bit.

Anyway, do I have two grapefruits is the one on the left a lemon? I would appreciate any feedback.


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Maybe if you actually posted the foto??

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 6:09PM
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That's odd, it showed the photo in my preview- I'll try again!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 7:16PM
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Neither one is a lemon; look at the winged petiole, no lemon has that. Beyond that, I don't know what you have.

I would assume if your planted a grapefruit seed, you have a grapefruit.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:52PM
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Firstly, thanks very much for your insight.

If it's not a lemon then they'd probably have to both be grapefruits, but why would they sprout so differently from each other, with one having five leaves and the other having four?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 10:36AM
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They both look like grapefruit. You can tell by the leaf shape, as the poster above mentioned. Other citrus doesn't have that. As for 4 or 5 leaves, it's not that unusual.

If you planted the seeds yourself from fruit you saved, you can end up with a weaker tree than if you purchased a tree at the nursery. Flavorful budwood is grafted onto hardy but not so flavorful rootstock.

Here is a link that might be useful: What's Growing On?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:01AM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

the oils inside a lemon leaf smell strongly like a lemon. Grapefruit, at least my grapfruit seedling, doesnt have that smell. Limes smell like limes also.

break open a leaf and smell.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:34AM
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Thanks for the relies, everyone!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 2:02PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

And, lemons are almost across the board not true to seed. John is correct - that winged petiole is also not found on lemons, but mainly on grapefruits and pummelos. And Mike also gave you great advice - lemon tree leaves smell strongly like lemons. Very nice seedlings, though! It will be interesting to see what you end up with!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:33PM
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jcaldeira(Tropical - Fiji)

Patty, it is my understanding that most citrus seeds are polyembryonic. The first sprout from a polyembryonic seed almost always grow true to the parent fruit since they are not pollinated.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 8:47PM
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