Buddha’s hand citron is a citrus fruit.
It has very small utility as a food item. It is mostly just an ornamental citrus fruit, though the peel of it can be candied.
It is a variety of a larger category of ancient citrus fruit known as citron.
The fruit grows in a shape that is often described as the shape of a hand with fingers (though mind you, a hand with 10 to 15 fingers), though perhaps “squid-shaped” gives a more accurate impression of what the fruit looks like.
It grows on a small, thorny tree that can be propagated just from cut branches stuck in the ground. It won’t, though, tolerate extremes of heat or cold.
The tree has pale green, crinkled, leathery leaves 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) long, and blossoms with clusters of large white or pale purple fragrant flowers.
The thin skin of the fruit ripens from green to yellow to orangey-yellow. It consists of long, slender “fingers” joined only at the top of the fruit, though these look far more like than tentacles than they do fingers. These “fingers” can be up to 30 cm (12 inches) long.
The flesh inside has no seeds, but it also hasn’t got any useful flesh or juice either. What small amount of flesh it has is white and tender.
The fruit does have, though, a pronounced, pleasant, lemony smell. Whole fruits can be used to give a pleasant aroma to rooms or closets.
Will keep for up to 2 weeks at room temperature before candying the peel.
Possibly native to north-eastern India.