AskDefine | Define hesperidium

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Linnaeus gave the name Hesperideæ to an order containing the genus Citrus, in allusion to the golden apples of the Hesperides. The hesperid- stem is now used to form technical terms, such as hesperidin, relating to the citrus fruits.


  1. Any of several kinds of berries having pulpy interiors, and leathery skins containing aromatic oils. Includes citrus fruit such as the lemon and lime.

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Extensive Definition

A hesperidium (plural hesperidia) is a modified berry with a tough, leathery rind. The peel contains volatile oil glands in pits. The fleshy interior is composed of separate sections, called carpels, filled with fluid-filled vesicles that are actually specialized hair cells.
The outer ovary wall becomes the thick spongy layer, while the inner ovary wall becomes very juicy with several seeds.
Oranges and other citrus fruits are common examples.
Unlike most other berries, the rind of hesperidia is generally not eaten with the fruit because they are tough and bitter. A common exception is the kumquat which is consumed entirely.
The outermost, pigmented layer of rind contains essential oils and is known as the flavedo. When scraped off and used as a culinary ingredient it is called zest. The inner rind (known as pith or albedo) of the citron or lemon is candied in sugar and called succade.


  • Bailey, H. and E. BAILEY. 1976. Hortus Third. Cornell University MacMillan. N.Y. p 275
hesperidium in Min Nan: Kam-kó
hesperidium in Czech: Hesperidium
hesperidium in German: Hesperidium
hesperidium in Spanish: Hesperidio
hesperidium in Lithuanian: Citrinvaisis
hesperidium in Portuguese: Hesperídio
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