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Alemow citrus can be recognized by its protruding mammilla or its knob-like and bumpy exterior. Its size is medium to large, and its shape round to ovate. The outer skin of the Alemow has an overall yellow hue that will sometimes when immature be brushed with pale green. Its rind has a medium thickness and surrounds a segmented yellow-green inner flesh. Its flesh is very dry for a citrus offering very little juice and it has a highly acidic, bitter and tart flavor. Like many members of the subgenus Papeda the pulp of the Alemow citrus contains acrid oil which makes the fruit extremely unpalatable.
The Alemow citrus is available in the late spring and early summer months.
The Alemow citrus botanically known as Citrus macrophylla is a member of the citrus sub-genus Papeda. Also known as Alemon, Alimau, Colo and Macrophylla this citrus fruit tree is currently one of the most commonly used rootstock for growing citrus around the world. Recent studies in Spain, India, Italy and the United States have proven the rootstock of Alemow to be superior in terms of inducing early bearing fruit, high yields, size of fruit produced, improved disease resistance and tolerance of soils high in lime and salts.
Since the 1950’s in California Alemow citrus has been the predominate rootstock used in commercial citrus orchards for growing lemons.
The Alemow citrus is believed to be native to an island in the Philippines known as Cebu. While its parentage is not documented as of yet it is thought to possibly be a hybrid of C. celebica or another member of the sub-genus Papeda and C. grandis or another member of the sub-genus Citrus such as Pomello. Alemow citrus was first utilized in the United States in the 1950’s when it was studied by Dr. Bill Bitters at the University of Riverside Experiment station. Of over 500 cultivators screened Dr. Bitters found the Alemow citrus to be one of two varieties that would be a successful rootstock for growing lemons as it was less susceptible to vector transmitted viruses which in 1946 were threatening to destroy the citrus industry in California. It has since proven to be an excellent rootstock for most citrus varieties, particularly lemon, lime, tangerines and kumquats. The roots of the Alemow citrus are deep and sturdy and can thrive in a variety of soil types from sandy and lose to dense, heavy clay terrains.