Citrus Fruits Arguably citrus fruit remains North America's wake up fruit, with orange juice and grapefruit gracing many a breakfast table. Oranges still hold the top spot in the average American's citrus fruit consumption, although over time their influence has waned. The chart at the top of the page provides a comparison of the five primary citrus fruits, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and tangerines, in terms of 2010 per capita consumption. Per capita orange juice consumption tops the chart by a wide margin, with current consumption topping the fifty pounds/year mark. The combined fresh and processed consumption of any of the remaining citrus fruits does not exceed the per capita consumption of fresh oranges, which stands at 9.86 lbs/person. Additional Fruit Information Types of Fruit America's favorite breakfast fruit, oranges, grow on trees in the warmer and subtropical areas of the United States. California and Florida orchards account for the bulk of the domestic market, with California oranges used primarily for fresh consumption and Florida oranges used primarily for processing into juice. Tangerines (and tengelos), the other orange fruit, grow sparingly in the subtropical areas of the country. While never an overly popular citrus fruit, tangerine per capita consumption remains fairly stable over time, with a per capita consumption rate of 2.1 pounds/person in 1980. By 2010 per capita consumption of fresh tangerines increased to 3.78 pounds/person. Grapefruits, a relatively new fruit, commonly thought to be a hybrid between an orange and pummelo, get their name from the way the fruit grows on trees, in bunches like grapes. Grapefruit's grab on the American pallet waned over time, much like oranges. Today it competes with other citrus fruits for consumer attention. Lemons, an introduced citrus fruit in the family Rutaceae, grow on trees in southern and tropical climates. While they grow in a variety of poor soil conditions, they are very temperature sensitive. While lemons continue to grace many chefs chopping blocks, serving as a main course flavor enhancer, the chart at the top of the page reminds us that the average American lemon preference still leans heavily to lemonade. Two types of limes, Citrus latifolia (Tahitian lime) and Citrus aurantiifolia (key lime), grow in the United States. Neither type is a native species, and the lime tree is temperature sensitive to the degree that it is impracticable to plant them as a commercial endeavor. Almost one hundred percent of the limes used in the United States are imported. Still, their small size makes lime trees a popular patio and landscape fixtures in the southern areas of California, Texas and Florida. Some escape to grow in the wild. Key limes matures to a yellow fruit and the branches of the trees have thorns. The Tahitian lime matures to a green fruit and the branches of the tree are thorn-less. © 2004-2012 Patricia A. Michaels.