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C. hystrix typically grows 3 to 6 m (9.75 to 19.5 ft) tall. The aromatic leaves, which are evergreen, have a distinctive structure, with a winged petiole (leaf stem) that is similar in size to the leaf itself, giving the appearance a laterally divided leaf. The globose flower buds open into fragrant flowers with 4 to 5 petals and around 30 stamens; petals are white with reddish or pink on the outside. The sub-globose to ellipsoid fruit is small, from 3 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in) wide by 5 to 7 cm (2 to 3 in) long--similar in size to slightly larger than a kumquat--with a rough skin with numerous small oil glands, and ripens to lemon yellow.
C. hystrix originated in southeast Asia, but its precise native range has been obscured by a long history of cultivation, along with hybridization. The species and its various hybrids are now cultivated widely throughout the region, from Sri Lanka east to the Phillipines.
(Flora of China 2012, van Wyk 2005)