Poncirus trifoliata

Japanese bitter orange

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Key information

Plant type

Deciduous shrub

Flower colour



Autumn colour, Flowers, Fruit



Skill level


photo by Jenny Lilly, copyright GAP Photos (306045)

Plant details

In the wild in China and Korea, this deciduous shrub grows into a small tree, but in gardens it makes a large or medium-sized, surprisingly hardy shrub. The foliage turns golden yellow before falling and once it has done so, it leaves a dense and very thorny tangle of stems. This makes it ideal for growing as an impenetrable hedge. The flowers are its glory, up to 4cm (11/2in) across, pure white with a strong perfume of orange blossom they are followed by small fragrant lemon-yellow fruits, attractive but very acid-tasting. Plants can be used as a hardy rootstock for citrus varieties.

Family: Rutaceae

Genus: Poncirus

Species: trifoliata

Plant type: Deciduous shrub

Flower colour: White

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Autumn colour, Flowers, Fruit

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 500cm

Spread: 500cm

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