How did grapefruit get its name?

This name arose from the fact that the fruit on a heavy-laden tree often suggests a huge cluster of grapes. Sometimes as many as forty or fifty large grapefruits have been known to grow on a single stem, but ordinarily the fruit is scattered about the tree like apples, oranges or pears, and the resemblance to a cluster of grapes is only fanciful. Grapefruit was originally, it is believed, a native of southeastern Asia or the Malay and Polynesian islands, from where it seems to have been introduced into the West Indies and Florida by the early Spanish colonists. The grapefruit is often erroneously supposed to be a hybrid developed by crossing other fruits. “A grapefruit,” according to a popular saying of unknown authorship, “is a lemon that had a chance and took advantage of it.” But actually it is a distinct variety of citrus fruit, akin to the orange and the lemon. Grapefruit has been an important food product in the United States since about 1900. When the fruit was first introduced on a small scale about 1885 it was bitter and unpalatable and few people would eat it without the use of generous portions of sugar. Since then the grapefruit has been greatly improved by grafting and cultivation. Tens of thousands of Americans saw grapefruit for the first time at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. It is said that merchant [364] ships during, the eighteenth century used grapefruit for ballast and for cleaning the decks. Grapefruit was called shaddock in England for a time from the fact that the seed of a pear-shaped citrus fruit, resembling grapefruit but differing from it in having coarse dry flesh, was taken from the East Indies to Barbados in 1696 by a Captain Shaddock In some tropical and subtropical countries various varieties of this citrus fruit are grown under such names as pomelo, pummelo and pompelmous.