kumquat (kŭmˈkwŏt) [key], ornamental shrub of the genus Fortunella of the family Rutaceae (rue family), closely related to the orange and other citrus fruits. It has evergreen leaves, sweet-scented white flowers, and small, orange-yellow edible fruits which are eaten fresh or in preserves. Three or four types of the kumquat, which is probably native to China, are cultivated as house and hedge plants in the Gulf states and in California. They are much hardier than most oranges. The kumquat is also called kinkan. Kumquats are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Sapindales, family Rutaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Plants