Limonia acidissima is the only species within the monotypic genus Limonia. It is native to the Indomalaya ecozone to Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and in Indochinese ecoregion east to Java and the Malesia ecoregion. Common names for the species in English include wood-apple and elephant-apple and is known as Velaga pandu వెలగ పండు in Telugu and as Vilva Palam in Tamil. It is reputed for its medicinal properties.
Limonia acidissima is a large tree growing to 9 metres (30 ft) tall, with rough, spiny bark. The leaves are pinnate, with 5-7 leaflets, each leaflet 25–35 mm long and 10–20 mm broad, with a citrus-scent when crushed. The fruit is a berry 5–9 cm diameter, and may be sweet or sour. It has a very hard rind which can be difficult to crack open, and contains sticky brown pulp and small white seeds. The fruit looks similar in appearance to the Bael fruit (Aegle marmelos).
A number of other species formerly included in the genus are now treated in the related genera Atalantia, Citropsis, Citrus, Glycosmis, Luvunga, Murraya, Microcitrus, Micromelum, Naringi, Pamburus, Pleiospermium, Severinia, Skimmia, Swinglea, and Triphasia.
The fruit is used to make a fruit juice with astringent properties and jams. Its leaves also have medicinal properties and are considered auspicious to be offered to Lord Shiva in pujas. A majority of the Hindu temples will have a sacred tree with in its compound and is known as the sthala vriksha.
- "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 1 August 2015.
- B. C. Stone, D. H. Nicolson (November 1978). "Arguments for Limonia acidissima L. (Rutaceae) and against Its Rejection as a nomen ambiguum" 27. Taxon: 551–552. JSTOR 1219924. Retrieved 2011-04-19.
- "Limonia acidissima". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Retrieved 2016-04-03.
- Health Benefits of Wood Apple or Bel Fruit
- John H. Wiersema (2005-02-22). "Species in GRIN for genus". Ars-grin.gov. Retrieved 2011-04-19.
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