OriginThe origin of Buddha's hand plant can be traced back to Northeastern India or China.
DescriptionThe bright yellow citrus fruit with long, gnarled, finger-like extensions.
Growth HabitatIt grows best in temperate conditions. It is sensitive to frost, as well as intense heat and drought.
FoliageCitron leaves are distinctive in form, being oblong and somewhat rumpled, with serrate margins. New leaves are purple in colour. The leaves are very aromatic when crushed and often omit a lemony scent. Short, sharp thorns grow on the branches but they can be trimmed.
FlowersIts white flowers are tinted purplish from the outside and grow in fragrant clusters.
FruitsThe Buddha’s hand, which is nearly all rind and very little pulp, starts out green, and then turns yellowish-orange when ripe. It is composed of 5-20 finger-like segments, and the arrangement of these segments can vary; the "fingers" can be held in a closed position or the segments can be more widely spread apart. The thick, yellow, outer peel has only a small amount of sweet, acidic pith (if any) and is juiceless and sometimes seedless. The flavor of its peel is described as "kumquat-tangerine" which is distinct from the more lemony flavor of regular citrus. The peel is highly aromatic at maturity, with a characteristic aroma of violets or osmanthus, largely derived from a compound called beta-ionone.
Harvest Usually the temperate lands, Buddha’s hands are harvested in the late winter and into spring. Choose ‘hands’ with firm, bright yellow peels with a detectable floral scent and avoid any with soft spots or limp fingers.
SoilBuddha’s hand citron grow in a wide variety of soils, such as sandy loam, medium loam or clay loam, but it needs to be well drained.
PruningPrune to maintain a pleasing shape and to keep the plant to a desired height. Remove any diseased or dead wood and any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other.
FertilizationSupply compost regularly or fertilize regularly with fertilizers made specifically for citrus. Fertilize during the growing season.
PropagationBuddha’s hand can be propagated by cuttings and grafting.
Buddha’s hand citron are very high in calcium, dietary fibre and vitamin C.
Health BenefitsCitron which is a genus name for fragrant citrus fruit, of which the Buddha’s hand is a related variety, was from ancient times, used mainly for medical purposes: to combat seasickness, pulmonary troubles, intestinal ailments, and other disorders. The essential oil of the flavedo (the outermost, pigmented layer of rind) was also regarded as an antibiotic. Other than that, in Chinese traditional medicine, it is prescribed as a stimulant, expectorant, and tonic. In addition, it is used to treat problems concerning the liver, spleen and lungs.
Commercial UsesVery good alternative to lemon zest and it also can be candied. It is also used for flavoring savory dishes, desserts and alcoholic beverages (such as vodka), and for making preserves. The fruit may be given as a religious offering in Buddhist temples. Chinese and Japanese use it for perfuming rooms and clothing.  The tree is very popular as an ornamental tree, often in bonsai form.
Food SuggestionStewed Fruit and White Fungus
- 28g dried white fungus
- 2 pieces rock sugar
- 360g apple, Chinese apple-pear, longans and other fruits, as desired
- 1 small finger of a Buddha's hand, minced fine
- 2 tablespoons peeled and sliced almonds

1. Soak the white fungus for one hour and then remove any hard pieces. Cut it into one-inch sections.

2. Bring two cups of water to the boil, add the white fungus, lower the heat and simmer for thirty minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

3. Put the sugar in a small bag and crush it with the back end of the cleaver until the chunks are very small.

4. Dice the fruits into one to two inch cubes and put them and all other ingredients into a heat-proof serving bowl. Mix them well.

5. Bring half cup of water to the boil and pour over the fruit mixture, then place it in a steamer and steam over boiling water for half an hour. Then serve.


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