On a visit to the garden of our friend Merren we discovered this rare and interesting fruit tree, the Buddah’s hand citron. It is grown in Asia where there are many cultivars and variations of this plant and it was exciting to find it growing so well in Sydney.
The gnarled fruit, when mature, looks like a hand with fingers. The fruit pictured is still to mature and further develop its finger like protuberances.
Here is a picture of the mature fruit, a closed hand variety.
The fruit ripens in late autumn to early winter and is used in a variety of ways.
Like other types of citron the Buddah’s hand citron can be is used to make delicious candied peel as it is mainly thick rind with very little moisture and no seeds. It can be infused in syrup or vodka to make citrus flavoured drinks and the zest can be used to flavour a variety of foods and for making preserves and marmalade.
The fruits are very fragrant and are often kept in a bowl to perfume the air with their sweet citrus fragrance.
It is used as an offering for Buddhist religious practice and in China is a symbol of happiness, longevity and good fortune.
In Asia the skin from the green fruit is dried and used medicinally.
Growing Buddha’s hand citron
The tree is small and shrubby in habit with oblong leaves and fruit that matures to between 15 – 30 cm. It is propagated by grafting.
Like all members of the citrus family it prefers full sun and good drainage and protection from frosts. Fertilise during the growing season. Fruit is generally harvested from May to September.
This is a really interesting plant to add to your garden, look out for it.
For those that may be lucky enough to have this unusual citrus here David Liebovitz shows us how to do use them and this is a link to his recipe for using the fruit to make candied peel: