Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Variegated pink Eureka lemon

One of my favorite foliage plants in the front yard is actually a citrus tree: a variegated pink Eureka lemon. This variety was first discovered in 1931 in a Southern California home garden as a sport of the conventional Eureka lemon and is now widely available in local nurseries. Sometimes it is sold as “Pink Lemonade” because the flesh of the fruit has a pink cast (see photos after the jump).

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For me, the main attraction is the beautiful foliage. It looks great against the baby blue bamboo (Bambusa chungii ‘Barbellata’) behind it.

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This year is the first year when the fragrant blossom that covered the tree in the spring have actually turned into lemons. Last year they all aborted after fruit set.

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While small—even smaller than a Meyer lemon and certainly much smaller than a regular Eureka—they are very ornamental.

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I’d been wanting to harvest one for a while to see if the flesh actually is pink but I knew they weren’t quite ripe. Today, I finally decided to pick one to satisfy my curiosity. Yes, the flesh is slightly pink (and no, it wasn’t entirely ripe).

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With its striped rind and slightly pink flesh, it’s easily the most unique-looking lemon variety.

As much as I love this tree, we’re faced with a bit of a dilemma. Its current location is fairly crammed and doesn’t give the tree much room to spread. While still technically a dwarf lemon, its natural size is 12-15 ft. tall and wide. I’ve been pruning it each year to keep it more compact but I’m thinking we may have to move it. Not an undertaking I look forward to, and another vivid reminder to be smarter about selecting the right location in the first place.

4 comments:

  1. Unique looking lemon alright, can imagine using it as a punch or cake decoration as it looks so unusual. The foliage is nice too, as the variegation is pronounced.

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  2. Dig it up and move it if you have a space in mind. Waiting another year (or two, or three) just makes it harder.

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  3. It looks fantastically healthy and happy--you've grown it beautifullly--is it possible to just keep it small? No one needs a huge amount of 'Eureka' lemons anyway, do they? (Speaking as a 'Meyer'-aholic.)

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  4. how unusual! a striped lemon...! too cool..leaves dont lookcitrus at all to me...

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