It is said that the lemon tree, fruit tree native to the East, was brought to the Mediterranean area by Alexander the Great during his conquests of Persia and India in the fourth century BC. The Romans already knew it: it is depicted on the walls of some of the richest houses of Pompeii. The fruit, the lemon, given its color, could also be identified with the famous golden apples of the Hesperides.
His final implementation in Europe, like other citrus fruits, is due to the work of the Arabs, who extended their orchards and gardens throughout al-Andalus. The Crusades also helped that the lemon tree was brought to the medieval Christian world. Their presence is common in sunny places of convents to associate the image of lemon tree to the Virgin Mary.
In the sixteenth century there were sweet and bitter lemon trees in the gardens of the Real Alcázar, planted in the Garden of Cidral. In the Journey of Cosimo de Medicis around Spain and Portugal, in 1669, the chronicler who relates the journey of the Tuscan prince narrates that he stopped to admire the vegetation: the great wonder of these gardens was however for us to find lemon trees covered with flowers in December...
It is known that the architect Vermondo Resta, who conducted much of the reform of the gardens in the early seventeenth century, responsible for building the Gallery of the Grotesque, was given everyday oranges and lemons and seasonal flowers from the gardens of Alcázar. These were some of the grants enjoyed by Resta as the greatest master of Seville’s palace.