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Orchard Trees of Rancho Los Cerritos: Lemon, Lime & Mandarin

Articles: Orchard Trees of Rancho Los Cerritos: Lemon, Lime & Mandarin

‘Bearss’ lime. Author’s photographs

In 1931, Llewellyn and Avis Bixby commissioned Ralph D Cornell to design an estate garden at the family’s old rancho property in Long Beach, California. The finished design included two orchards with additional fruit trees throughout the site. Of the six citrus trees found in the primary orchard at Rancho Los Cerritos, three were oranges (see Pacific Horticulture January ’08). The others were individual species: Citrus limon, C. aurantifolia, and C. reticulata. The stories of these other citrus, based upon the research done in preparation for the orchard restoration in 2001, are presented here.

Lemons (Citrus limon) traveled with oranges around the world and wound up in California at the same time and in all the same places. The sweet lemon (C. limetta) was in the San Gabriel Mission orchard by 1822, and both sweet and sour were available locally. Lemons were planted in the original rancho garden created by John Temple in the 1840s, according to Anne Bixby Chamberlin; she wrote that they had been planted at pathway intersections, much like the Italian cypresses (Cupressu...

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