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Internal Decline of Lemons. II. Growth Rate, Water Content, and Acidity of Lemons at Different Stages of Maturity

E. T. Bartholomew
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 10, No. 3 (Mar., 1923), pp. 117-126
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2435359
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Internal Decline of Lemons. II. Growth Rate, Water Content, and Acidity of Lemons at Different Stages of Maturity
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Abstract

The principal results obtained by the experiments on growth rate, water content, and acidity of lemons at different stages of maturity may be summarized as follows: 1. While the lemon tree tends toward the production of new fruits continuously, the age of the tree and climatic and soil conditions make the production more or less seasonal. In the inland districts the seasonal setting of new fruits is more marked than in the coastal regions. 2. The time of the year when set, the age of the tree, and climatic and soil conditions are all factors determining the growth rate of the fruits. Some fruits may mature in 7 or 8 months, while others growing on the same tree may require as much as 14 months in which to mature. 3. Lemons may actually decrease in size while still attached to the tree, in consequence of the withdrawal of water from them by the leaves. This withdrawal of water from the fruits by the leaves may result in the collapse of at least a portion of the tissue in the stylar end of the fruit. 4. The wilting coefficient of the soil as indicated by lemon leaves can not be considered a safe criterion as to whether or not the lemon fruits are suffering from a lack of water. 5. There is practically no difference between the water contents of the two ends of the normal lemon. 6. As the lemon enlarges, its water content increases, but this increase is much more rapid up to the time that it is about 3.8 cm. in diameter than from that time to maturity. 7. The size of the lemon is not necessarily proportional to the percentage of water it contains. In September a lemon 1.90 cm. in diameter may have a much lower water content than a lemon 1.27 cm. in diameter in December. 8. Mature lemons may show considerable variation in water content. The range in this series of experiments was from 88.20 to 92.14 percent. 9. While the total acid content of the lemon increases rapidly as it approaches maturity, the true acidity increases very little after the lemon has reached a diameter of about 3.8 cm. 10. There are quite wide variations, but the average of a large number of stylar and stem ends of normal lemons shows the mean acidity to be substantially the same for each. 11. Mature lemons of practically the same age and size have a comparatively wide range of acidity.

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