The lemon is a small evergreen tree originally native to Asia, and is also the name of the tree's oval yellow fruit. The fruit is used for culinary and nonculinary purposes throughout the world – primarily for its juice, though the pulp and rind are also used, mainly in cooking and baking. Lemon juice is about 5% citric acid, which gives lemons a sour taste.
The exact origin of the lemon has remained a mystery, though it is widely presumed that lemons first grew in India, northern Burma, and China. In South and South East Asia, it was known for its antiseptic properties and it was used as an antidote for various poisons. Lemons entered Europe (near southern Italy) no later than the first century AD, during the time of Ancient Rome. However, they were not widely cultivated. It was later introduced to Persia and then to Iraq and Egypt around AD 700. It was distributed widely throughout the Arab world and the Mediterranean region between AD 1000 and AD 1150. The genetic origin of the lemon, however, was reported to be hybrid between sour orange and citron
The first real lemon cultivation in Europe began in Genoa in the middle of the fifteenth century. It was later introduced to the Americas in 1493 when Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds to Hispaniola along his voyages. Spanish conquest throughout the New World helped spread lemon seeds. It was mainly used as ornament and medicine. In 1700s and late 1800s, lemons were increasingly planted in Florida and California when lemons began to be used in cooking and flavoring.