Juan Manuel Sanz / © ICEX
Lemon production is limited to a small number of countries and regions because of the plant's extreme sensitivity to low temperatures. In Spain, the crop is concentrated in the Autonomous Community of Murcia and in some neighboring provinces of Alicante (Valencian Community) and Almería (Andalusia).
The lemon was first brought to Spain by the Arabs and has become a traditional Spanish crop, selling in both the domestic and international markets. Most exports go to the European Union.
Two Spanish varieties, Verna and Fino, are the most widely-grown in Spain. The Verna produces good-sized fruits, with a neck at the stem end, a rough, thick skin and a good juice content with not many seeds.
The Fino lemon, also known as "Mesero", "Blanco"; and "Primofiori", is smaller than the Verna, with a smoother, thinner rind and a rounded stem end. This is a high-yield variety that is popular in the export market because of its high juice content.The Verna flowers from September to March and the Fino from March to September, thus guaranteeing supply all year round. Moreover, the Verna flowers for a second time in August-September, resulting in fruits that are rounder and with a thinner skin.