Kumquats are believed native to China. They were described in Chinese literature in 1178 A.D. A European writer in 1646 mentioned the fruit as having been described to him by a Portuguese missionary who had labored 22 years in China. In 1712, kumquats were included in a list of plants cultivated in Japan. They have been grown in Europe and North America since the mid-19th Century, mainly as ornamental dooryard trees and as potted specimens in patios and greenhouses. They are grown mainly in California, Florida and Texas; to a lesser extent in Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Surinam, Colombia and Brazil. In South India, they can be grown only at high elevations. There is limited cultivation in Australia and South Africa.