Rutaceae (rue family) Citrus

Citrus japonica kumquat

Fortunella margarita (syn.)
Kumquat in the Main Quad. John Rawlings, c 2006

The word quat in Cantonese means orange and kam means gold. This small citrus grows in passageways leading from the eastern entry to the Inner Quad, into the northeast corner of the Main Quad, and also in the northwest courtyard of Stern Hall. The golden oval fruit, about an inch in diameter, ripen in March and may be eaten whole. They can be preserved whole in syrup and retain their rich color.

In 1846 on an expedition to China for the Royal Horticultural Society, Robert Fortune brought back the kumquat, as well as the white wisteria and other novelties. Later he introduced the tea plant to India. His adventures on these travels are related in his interesting books in the Stanford Library.

Name derivation (of the synonym): Fortunella – After Robert Fortune (1812–1880) who collected in China, and introduced the tea plant from China into India (also see Trachycarpus fortunei); margarita – pearl-like.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005.