The Pomelo


In my last post I had included a photo of the pomelo tree. Some of you had said that you’d never heard of the fruit. Since I had some pictures with me I thought I’d share them.

The pomelo is the largest citrus fruit in the world. Its botanical name is Citrus maxima. The fruit is known by several other names too. Here are some of them– shaddock, Chinese grapefruit, pummelo, and jabong.

Here’s what the blooms look like before they finally open.

Sweet smelling white flowers fill the air with their fragrance in late February/early March. On one of my return journey from my parents’ home I had brought a handful of blooms wrapped in my handkerchief. As I write this it isn’t just the smell but the associations of the day that comes back. It was the last time that I saw my father move a little and smile a little  before he passed way in April. It was the last journey with my sisters and my brother-in-law together. My brother-in-law passed away in July. Somehow the March wind and rain, the fragrance of these blooms, and the blooms themselves, scattered on the ground, will always be associated with these memories.

Green unripe fruits on the tree in July. Notice how red ants have sewn up the leaves and made their nests.

The pomelo is native to Southeast Asia and all of Malaysia, and grows wild on river banks in Fiji, Tonga, and Hawaii. It may have been introduced into China around 100 B.C. It is widely cultivated in southern China (Jiangsu, Jiangxi, and Fujian Provinces) and especially in central Thailand on the banks to the Tha Chin River; also in Taiwan and southernmost Japan, southern India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea, and Tahiti. The pomelo is also known as a “shaddock,” after an English sea captain, Captain Shaddock, who introduced the seed to the West Indies in the 17th century from the Malay Archipelago. Source.

Ripe fruit in January in my parents’ garden. Squirrels love the fruit and it’s not unusual to see half-eaten fruit lodged between the branches of the medium-sized tree.

The rind is thick and spongy. The seeds are large, and the flesh, juicy. It tastes like grapefruit and we like to mix the flesh with salt, sugar, some chopped green chillies, mint and a bit of oil. The juice is most refreshing too. Here’s a recipe that you might find interesting……

All the pictures, except for the fourth and the last, were taken in my parents’ garden in Haflong. In my part of the world, most home gardens have a tree or two. People say that the fruit tastes best during the rice harvesting season in winter.





About Kanak Hagjer

Hello from north-east India! I love to blog about all things floral and foliar and sharing the beauty of my region is what I am most passionate about!
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12 Responses to The Pomelo

  1. Anita says:

    Thank you for such and interesting and informative post on the Pomelo, which until your posts, I did not even know existed.

  2. One says:

    We like to eat pomelo. Refreshing! I’ve never seen an orange one though.

  3. Rosie says:

    I’ve never tasted one of the fruits but I did get to look after one for someone last summer up until then I never knew anything about them. It’s lovely to so mature ones in their natural habitat.

  4. radha says:

    Interesting.. the bit about the fruit and touching.. the associations with the blooms.

  5. Well, I sure learned a lot today, I didn’t know any of this! It does look like grapefruit in your last two pictures. We don’t have any here at all. Can you eat it like grapefruit, or only eat the seeds?

  6. These are gorgeous photos. Delicious, to say the least!

  7. birdy says:

    Interesting and informative post Kanak! Pomelo is grown in our area too, but I was not aware of its English or botanical name.

  8. You are making my mouth water!

  9. easygardener says:

    Interesting post – the Pomelo is a new fruit to me.
    I am always amazed when a fragrance conjures up long forgotten memories.

  10. totsymae1011 says:

    Beautiful photography! I love nature photos.

  11. rebecca says:

    I learned something new here! Lovely photos.

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