What we grow - Biodiversity



Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) is a fruit tree belonging to the genus Citrus (Rutaceae). The common name grapefruit can refer to both the fruit and its tree. The fruit is an ancient hybrid, probably between sweet orange and pomelo. Grapefruit is the only citrus fruit that is not supposed to come from Southeast Asia, but from Central America. In reality it is plausible that from these places it was brought to Florida, but it seems rather strange that from there it could also reach the Mediterranean Sea. There are no certain data on this, but there is the hypothesis that grapefruit also arrived in Europe together with its ancestor, sweet orange, from the Far East through Asia along the Silk Road, which would place the its origin in the homeland of all other citrus fruits. However, it is true that in Europe it had long been used only as an ornamental plant. The fruit only became popular in the 19th century. Today the major producers are the USA, with plantations in Florida and Texas, while in Italy the production is more concentrated in the Catania Plain, and in the Conca d’Oro in Sicily.


It is an evergreen tree 5-6 meters high. Its leaves are dark green, long (Over 15 centimeters) and thin. It produces white flowers composed of four petals of 5 centimeters. The fruit is yellow, a globular appearance of 10–15 centimeters diameter and consists of colorless cloves. It is one of the greatest citrus fruits (Only the Pomelo is larger), since it can easily reach the two kg of weight, and intended for the preservation industry for the production of juice. The grapefruit peel is abundantly lined by the spongy mass called Albedo, in fact, the fruit does not have the consistency of the lemon, not even the elasticity of orange. There are many varieties of grapefruit on the market, in particular of pink grapefruit, of significant commercial importance, whose color derives from a spontaneous mutation of the yellow grapefruit observed in Texas in 1929 and stabilized by radiation with slow neutrons. The new fruit has raised a lot of interest among the buyers, so much so as to encourage further hybridizations especially with the dark orange, with colorful fruit, sweeter and thinner peel. At the moment the pink grapefruit is only a variety of yellow grapefruit, but it could happen that in short it becomes autonomous species, as already historically happened with the clementines, orange and lemon.


Digestive and Refreshing, grapefruit is an citrus with numerous properties and an excellent ally of good health, especially in the colder months. Very rich in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins (Especially of group C), grapefruit is a real concentrate of wellness, ideal for hydration as it is very rich in water. The draining and purifying action of this fruit is further amplified by the high content of magnesium and potassium, the latter also useful against arterial hypertension. The presence of numerous antioxidants has anticancer and anti-inflammatory action. In addition, it is considered an allied fruit of low calories diets, because it has few calories and many fibers. The grapefruit has positive effects on digestion, stimulating the secretion of gastric juices and promotes the digestive process. The pectin contained in the fruit, keeps cholesterol under control and defends the mucous membrane of the colon from infections and tumors.


Grapefruit requires a fairly mild climate, avoiding planting them in locations exposed to frost. Hoarfrosts are harmful to this species, also depending on their duration, and especially if they are accompanied by considerable humidity in the air. However, excessive temperatures also have their drawbacks, stopping fruit development and causing the leaves and branches to dry out. If the soil is very loose, irrigation must be intensified, as well as the distribution of organic matter which, as with any crop, is always the basis of soil fertility. The water requirements for grapefruit are similar to other citrus fruits, with frequent irrigation during the warm seasons and irrigation as needed during the winter months, to be integrated with the seasonal rains. The most delicate time, in which the plant can suffer damage from drought, and the next phase after setting the fruit.