The plant is native to south Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. The earliest historical reference to kumquats appears in literature of China in the 12th century. They have long been cultivated in India, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and southeast Asia. They were introduced to Europe in 1846 by Robert Fortune, collector for the London Horticultural Society, and shortly thereafter into North America.
They are slow-growing evergreen shrubs or short trees, from 2.5 to 4.5 metres tall, with dense branches, sometimes bearing small thorns. The leaves are dark glossy green, and the flowers are white, similar to other citrus flowers, borne singly or clustered in the leaf-axils. Depending on size, the kumquat tree can produce hundreds or even thousands of fruits each year.
When the kumquats are divided into multiple species, the name Fortunella japonica (or Citrus japonica) is retained by this group. The round kumquat also called Marumi kumquat or Morgani kumquat, is an evergreen tree, producing edible golden-yellow fruit. The round Hawaiian varietal, the "Meiwa kumquat", is eaten raw. The fruit is small and usually round but can be oval shaped. The peel has a sweet flavour but the fruit has a sour centre. The fruit can be eaten cooked but is mainly used to make marmalades and jellies. It is grown as an ornamental plant and can be used in bonsai. The plant symbolises good luck in China and other Asian countries, where it is kept as a houseplant and given as a gift during the Lunar New Year. Round kumquats are more commonly cultivated than other species due to their cold tolerance.
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Friday Greens meme,
and also part of the Food Friday meme,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme.