Buddha's hand

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Buddha's hand
Buddhas hand 1.jpg
Buddha's hand fruit, "open hand" appearance when ripe
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. medica
Variety: C. medica var. sarcodactylus
Trinomial name
Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus

Buddha's hand, Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis, or the fingered citron, is an unusually shaped citron variety whose fruit is segmented into finger-like sections, resembling a human hand. In Japanese it is called bushukan (ブッシュカン).

The different cultivars and variations of this citron variety form a gradient from "open-hand" types with outward-splayed segments to "closed-hand" types, in which the fingers are kept together. There are also half-fingered fruits, in which the basal side is united and the apical side fingered. The origin of this kind of citron is commonly traced back to the Far East, probably northeastern India or China, where most domesticated citrus fruits originate from.[1]


Uses[edit]

Huge fruit breaking bearing twig
Citrus medica digitata (Italian for fingered) in Val Rahmeh botanical garden.

Perfume[edit]

Buddha's hand fruit is very fragrant and is used predominantly in China and Japan for perfuming rooms and personal items such as clothing.

Religious[edit]

The fruit may be given as a religious offering in Buddhist temples. According to tradition, Buddha prefers the "fingers" of the fruit to be in a position where they resemble a closed rather than open hand, as closed hands symbolize to Buddha the act of prayer. In China, the Buddha’s hand fruit is a symbol of happiness, longevity and good fortune. It is also a traditional temple offering and a New Year’s gift.[2]

Ornamental[edit]

A fingered citron by Volckamer
Fingered citron by Wellcome

The fingered citron is cultivated as an ornamental tree in gardens and containers on patios and terraces.

Description[edit]

Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis[3] like any other citron variety, is a shrub or small tree with long, irregular branches covered in thorns. Its large, oblong leaves are pale green and grow about four to six inches. Its white flowers are tinted purplish from the outside and grow in fragrant clusters. The fruit's fingers contain only the white part of the fruit and sometimes a small amount of acidic pulp, but many of them are completely juiceless and some are seedless.[4]

The plant is sensitive to frost, as well as intense heat and drought. It grows best in a temperate climate. Areas such as the coast of Southern California as well as inland valleys are considered ideal for planting.[citation needed] Trees can be grown from cuttings taken from branches two to four years old. It is very commonly grafted onto sufficient rootstock.

Gallery[edit]


See also[edit]

Lay Buddhist
Practices

Dharma Wheel.svg
devotional
Offerings · Bows
3 Refuges · Chanting
precepts
5 Precepts · 8 Precepts
Bodhisattva vows
other
Meditation · Giving
Supporting Monastics
Study · Pilgrimage

References[edit]

  1. ^ Karp, David (Winter 1998). "Buddha's Hand Citron". Flavor and Fortune (Kings Park, NY: Institute for the Advancement of the Science and Art of Chinese Cuisine) 5 (4): 5–6. Retrieved 2010-04-20. 
  2. ^ Mellisa
  3. ^ "Citrus medica var. Buddhas Hand". Catalog of the Living Plant Collections. Storrs, CT: University of Connecticut, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Plant Growth Facilities. Retrieved 2010-04-20. 
  4. ^ "Buddha's hand citron". Catalog of the Citrus Variety Collection. Riverside, CA: University of California, Riverside, Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, Citrus Experiment Station. Retrieved 2010-04-20. 

External links[edit]