Lemons may have originated in India, where they have been cultivated for more than 2,500 years. Traders brought the fruit to Africa and the Middle East about 100 A.D., and lemons may have been introduced into southern Italy about 100 years later. Not originally considered, lemons initially were an ornamental plant. They entered the culinary world in 15th century Europe and came to the New World in 1493 with Christopher Columbus. The Spanish Conquest spread the fruit throughout, principally used medicinally and as ornaments. They were first grown in California in 1751 and in Florida in the 1800s.
Commercial cultivation in the two states then began, although a severe freeze in Florida in 1894-1895 caused an sudden end, only to resume in 1953 with the great increase in demand for frozen lemon concentrate.