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Historical Background

Lemon TreesAccording to Mythology, Hesperis and Atlas were the parents of the three daughters who are the patrons of the Citrus: Arethusa, the lemon tree, Reglen the citron tree and Hespertusa, the orange tree.

These trees have been admired since the ancient times, due to its different qualities, and several legends and fables have been written to highlight all these attributed qualities. When talking about the lemon, it is worthy to remember the story told by Athenaios, related to the torments carried by Clearco from Heraclea, who killed his victims by letting them be bitten by a viper, and who was astonished when he realised that some of the victims had escaped death after drinking lemon juice, which had been offered to them by a good person when they were taken to the torments arena.

Even though it is not known the exact place of the origins of the lemon tree, the general tendency is to set it in countries of the South East of Asia and Malaysia.

Dam for irrigationIt has been proved that the lemon tree was already known in the times of the Roman Empire since it appears in several paintings in Pompeii and in some Roman tombs.The first literary reference of the lemon tree it's in Ibn Washshiyah's book "Nabatean Agriculture" from the beginning of the 10th Century, where it is described with the Persian word "limun". From this period of time we find a couple more references in two Geographical books by two Arab writers Istakhrí and Ibn Haukal, who mention the existence of a bitter fruit in India that they call "limunah".

However, the first reference to the lemon found in China it's contained in Fan Ch´eng-ta's "Kwei hay yü heng" written in the second half of the 12th Century. At the same time, in 1178 the author Chou K´ü-fei, in the book "Ling waitai ta", says that this fruit was known in the area of Canton, placing its origins in countries of the South of Asia, and not in China. The word used for it "li-mung" is not Chinese.



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