Lemon: a ray of light
The lemon (the scientific name being Citrus medica limona) is a citrus fruit belonging to the Rutaceae family. Originating in Kashmir, it arrives in China almost four millennia ago, where it is known as limung. It then moves on to Persia and Asia Minor, before reaching the Middle East and North Africa. The Arabs, which call it li mûm, disseminate it all around the Mediterranean beginning in the 10th Century, notably in Sicily and, to the East, via Greece. The Spanish and Russians transform the name to limon, which English picks up as lemon, while in France it takes on the denomination of citron, derived from the Latin citrus. For their part, the Hungarians take on the French term, while the Poles call it cytryna. Its reputation as a medicinal substance comes from its high content in Vitamin C, which will be used to protect sailors from scurvy when at sea for long periods of time. The Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, in the 20th Century will speak of the limón in his Elementary Odes as “a ray transformed into a fruit”.