Around the year 1830 there was grown a citrus variety in the garden of Bogos Bey Yusufian, the Egyptian Minister of Trade and Foreign Affairs in Alexandria. It was said of it to be a mixture of sweet orange, cedar and lemon. In his Travels in the Valley of the Nile James Augustus St. John wrote :
"The late Boghos Bey, [..] possessed an elegant villa within the walls [of Alexandria] , surrounded by a large garden, containing a great variety of rare flowers .. Here I was shown an extraordinary fruit-tree .. the fruit of which exhibits three distinct species included within one rind, the division being perfectly visible externally, and the flavour of each compartment as different as if it had - grown on a separate tree.."
Boghos Bey came from Smyrna, today's Izmir (Turkey) and had probably brought the strange citrus from there, because such trees grew in Smyrna. This can be seen from a report by Ref. G.C. Renouard, Foreign Secretary to the Royal Geographical Society, in The Gardeners' Chronicle of June 12, 1841:
“When resident at Smyrna as chaplain to the factory there, in 1812, a fruit produced, as I was told, by an Orange-tree on which a Lemon had been grafted, was sent to me from the garden of a friend [..] Boghos Yusuf (i. e. Paul Joseph) is a most estimable Armenian, universally esteemed, and was employed in his youth under the British Consul at Smyrna. He might have had this tree from the same garden [..] The fruit sent to me had the size and appearance of a large Orange with two or three large patches of Lemon neatly stuck on it; the colour, almost to the very edges of the different pieces, being distinctly that of the respective fruits; and on removing the rind, which, as in a common Orange, was all of one piece, the portions beneath the Lemon-coloured parts had not only a considerable degree of acidity, while the Orange had its proper degree of sweetness, but they were separated from their sweet neighbours by adistinct membrane, which in some degree accounted for their difference in taste. The pulp was also, I believe, of a lighter hue".
The Trifacial Orange, as it was commonly called, has been the subject of discussion in The Gardner's Chronicle several times. Especially the alleged origin of three seeds of orange, lemon and cedrate, which were peeled, tied together and planted in the soil, was controversial.
Charles Darwin counted the Trifacial Orange next to the Florentine Bizzarria to the so-called "graft hybrids". It is doubtful, however, whether this was indeed an independent citrus species independent of the Florentine Bizzarria. There is in any case no historical evidence of the distribution of the plants from Ismir or Alexandra. Notes on possible descendants are also not known.