10 Types of Lemons to Know

Meet some of the most common varieties of this mouth-puckering citrus.

Fresh lemons in a black container
Photo: Vershinin / Getty Images

Native to Asia, lemons grow all over the world. The yellow fruit blooms on small evergreen trees, with most varieties producing fruit during a specific season.

Lemons are a hybrid between bitter orange (sour orange) and citron, the original citrus species that all other citrus fruits came from. In fact, some citrus that we consider lemons are actually citron hybrids or lemon hybrids.

Many varieties of lemons, whether true lemons or hybrids, have cropped up over the years and across the continents, while other, older varieties no longer grow. So, the question of "how many types of lemons are there?" doesn't have a clear-cut answer. One thing is definitely clear, however, this citrus fruit is key in countless recipes and is a cornerstone of the kitchen.

Read on to learn how different lemons taste and which is the sweetest, which are seedless, which types of lemons are sold in grocery stores, and more.

Avalon Lemons

While you won't find Florida-grown Avalon lemons in grocery stores, you'll likely find a product they're used to make: lemon juice concentrate. Accordingly, these large lemons contain a lot of juice.

Bearss Lemons

While many believe its ancestry goes back to Italy, the Bearss lemon gets its name from the Florida citrus grove where it originated in the early 1950s. Bearss lemon trees yield a lot of fruit, which people prize for its acidity, juiciness, and relatively few seeds, not to mention the above-average amount of lemon oil in its peel. They have a reputation for being an easier tree to grow at home.

Buddha's Hand Lemons

Buddha's finger lemons on grey linen fabric

Technically, the Buddha's Hand is a kind of citron, which means it's larger and has a thicker rind than a true lemon. In fact, if you cut into this variety, you'll find solid rind — no pulp, juice, or seeds. This makes it perfect for lots of lemon zest or candying. Named for its finger-like shape (also called a fingered citron), this ancient citron likely made its way from India to China with Buddhist monks. Since the 1980s, the Buddha's Hand has been available in U.S. supermarkets.

Dorshapo Lemons

With its green peel and less acidic taste than the average lemon, the Dorshapo can get mistaken for a lime. This fruit hails from Brazil, where three American horticulturalists (Palemon Dorsett, Archibald Shamel, and Wilson Popenoe) came across it and named it after a combination of their last names. It grows best in warm, humid climates.

Eureka Lemons

One of the two main types of lemons sold in grocery stores, the Eureka grows year-round. It's popular not only among shoppers but also among home gardeners, who plant this nearly thornless tree as part of the landscape and in patio containers alike. Not to mention, this California-born lemon thrives in nearly every part of the world — a notable exception being Italy, where the seeds that first produced this variety came from.

Genoa Lemons

Genoa lemons
Natalie Merkulova / EyeEm / Getty Images

Born in Genoa, Italy, this citrus arrived in California in 1875. Comparing the Genoa lemon vs. the Eureka lemon, you won't notice any major differences between the two. Look at the trees, however, and it's clear that the Genoa tree grows wide rather than tall. Its shorter, shrub-like stature allows for easy harvesting. Moreover, the Genoa can withstand colder temperatures, including those of Argentina and Chile, where it grows commercially.

Lisbon Lemons

The Lisbon ranks as the other type of lemon typically sold in grocery stores the most. When it comes to Lisbon lemons vs. Eureka lemons, the Lisbon has thinner, smoother skin. Like Eurekas, they have a Southern European ancestor, likely Portugal's Gallego lemon. Lisbons first sprang up in Australia around 1824 and arrived in California around 1849. Still prolific in California, Lisbon lemons like warm, dry climates, where they can produce fruit year-round.

Meyer Lemons

Bushel of meyer lemons on white background
Meredith/Blaine Moats

While this China-born citrus first arrived in the U.S. in 1908 with agricultural explorer Frank Nicholas Meyer, the Meyer lemon only gained popularity among Americans in the early 2000s. Likely a hybrid between a regular lemon and a mandarin, the fruit remains a favorite of home cooks and gardeners for its subtly sweet, less acidic taste. Their flavor makes Meyer lemons perfect for popping into recipes. Compared to the Eureka and Lisbon lemons at the supermarket, Meyer lemons have a rounder form, thinner peels, and more of a yellow-orange hue than a true yellow. This is considered the sweetest lemon variety of the bunch.

Ponderosa Lemons

Thought to be a hybrid between a lemon and a citron, the Ponderosa stands out from its more popular citrus relatives with its large pear-like shape and thick, bumpy peel. The fruit originated in Maryland around 1887 and grows best in warm, sunny places like California and Florida, though it can also survive indoors with plenty of sunlight.

Santa Teresa Lemons


Also known as Sorrento lemons, Santa Teresa lemons look and taste just like you'd expect a quintessential lemon to look and taste. This Italian variety is used to make limoncello, a lemon liqueur produced in Southern Italy — most famously in the town of Sorrento.


Edited by Andrea Lobas
Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love