What is a Kumquat?

Have you ever seen a citrus tree so thick with olive-sized, orange fruit that the branches seem like they are about to break? If so then you most likely saw a Sweet Kumquat tree or Sour Kumquat tree (not an orange) during the peak fruiting season. But what is a Kumquat if it isn’t an Orange?

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Kumquats are cold-hardy fruiting trees and the most diminutive member of the flowering plant family Rutaceae. Just like their orange cousins, they are from the genus Citrus. Kumquats are unique among citrus cultivars because they are tiny, and the fruits of Sweet Kumquat Meiwa and Nagami Sour Kumquat are eaten whole – peel, pulp, seeds, and all.


The small Kumquat tree is native to Southeast Asia, with its earliest reference appearing in the 12th century China. Although they have long been cultivated in China and its neighboring countries like Japan, Philippines, and Taiwan, it was only in 1846 when they were introduced to Europe. Shortly after their introduction to Europe, they were taken to North America for cultivation.


There are a few Dwarf Kumquat tree cultivars grown in tropical and subtropical parts of the globe, but only three are cultivated in the United States for commercial and ornamental purposes.

  • Marumi (Morgani) Kumquat Tree – Thought of as a “good luck” tree in China, this evergreen dwarf Kumquat tree produces golden-yellow fruits that are typically spherical but can sometimes be oval. Marumi Kumquats have a peel that is terrifically sweet and flesh that is unusually tart so when eaten whole creates a wonderfully refreshing flavor. These tart yet sweet Kumquats are great for making marmalades, jellies, and jams.
  • Nagami Sour Kumquat Tree – This cultivar is the most common variety of all Kumquats. The tree has dark green leaves and white, sweet smelling blooms that are lovely to look at. The fruits are ovoid and can be eaten whole. This Sour Kumquat is prized for its fruits that have bright, neon-orange skin and a sweet-tart flesh.   
  • Meiwa Kumquat Tree – The Meiwa Sweet Kumquat trees have thick leaves and rounded orange fruit making them wonderful ornamental fruiting trees. The dwarf Meiwa Kumquat tree is perfect for homes with small spaces since it doesn’t take up too much space and the typical dwarf Meiwa Kumquat tree height is just around 6 feet. What makes them more interesting is that the Sweet Kumquat fruits are golden-colored when ripe and have sweet flesh, unlike the other Kumquats.


  • Can you grow a tree from Meiwa Kumquat seeds? – Just like other citrus trees, you can plant a Meiwa Kumquat tree from seeds but it is not advised since they do not thrive on their own roots. On top of that, it would take 10 years or more before they start bearing fruits when grown from seeds.
  • Where can I buy Sweet Kumquat tree for sale? – Citrus nurseries like Citrus.com usually have a standard and dwarf Kumquat tree for sale. For more information on citrus trees available, please visit citrus.com.
  • What is the typical Meiwa Kumquat tree size? – The standard Meiwa Kumquat tree can grow as tall as 15 feet, while a dwarf variety can grow 6 to 8 feet tall.
  • How long do Kumquats take to grow? – Unlike those grown from seeds, Meiwa Kumquat fruit trees for sale from citrus nurseries are grafted onto compatible rootstock and usually only take 3 to 4 years to reach full maturity.
  • How long does it take a Kumquat tree to produce fruit? – The young Meiwa Kumquat trees for sale at citrus nurseries can start bearing fruit in 1 to 3 years.
  • When do Kumquat trees bear fruit? – Kumquats are in season in autumn, winter, and spring.