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Citrus × aurantiifolia and relatives

Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix
 Botanical names of limes

Mexican lime    Common lime, Key lime
Thornless Mexican lime
Castello lime
Giant Key Lime
Persian lime     Tahiti lime, Bearss lime
Kaffir lime          Kuffre lime, Kieffer lime, Makrut
Kaffir lime Citrus hystrix
© Jorma Koskinen

Calamondin, Citrus × microcarpa
This is a varied collection of some of the most acid types of citrus fruit. Only the first  few are actual limes. Others are citrus types that share many of the qualities and culinary uses of lime. Limes are some of the smallest of commercially grown citrus fruit. Their thin skin sits very tightly, so peeling a lime can be a laborious task. Limes have few seeds, some are seedless. The flesh and juice of lime often show a nice shade of spring green. There are also limes with an orange or golden colour both in the fruit and on the rind.

Limes are seldom eaten as fresh fruit, although exceptions are mentioned below. Limes are pressed for juice, which can be used in cooking and when sweetened and diluted with water can be enjoyed as fresh juice or be mixed with other beverages to produce tropical punches and cocktails. The zest of lime is used especially in oriental dishes that are prepared quickly. Lime loses its freshness when boiled too long. When the rind and the fresh leaves are used the Kaffir lime releases its strong citric and often pungent aroma so many cherish. Red and orange limes are best when fully matured. The more familiar limes are best when medium ripe, with some green colour still showing on the skin. As the fruit matures and the rind begins to turn yellow the fruit loses some of its fresh taste and becomes less juicy. Fully mature yellow limes usually drop from the trees. Ordinary Mexican, Persian or Kaffir limes (see below) are most often collected when still green.
Persian limes
Winged lime

Ginger lime Limes grow in a warm subtropical or tropical climate. The main producers of lime are India, Egypt, Mexico and the Caribbean islands. The biggest lime plantation in Colima, Mexico has more than two million trees. The skins and solids left over from juice production are an important source of lime oil. The oil is produced from the fruit pulp by vapor distillation and serves as a source of citrus flavour in a large variety of internationally marketed mixers, soft drinks, essences and flavourings.

Botanical names of limes
'Kusaie' lime
Bearss lime
Starting from and in accordance with the 1996 Tokyo code of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature where it says: "For any taxon from family to genus inclusive, the correct name is the earliest legitimate one" the botanical names have been changed accordingly.

The names of the lime hybrids have been changed to Citrus × limon (L.) Osbeck for lemons and  those hybrids of lemons that have citron or sour orange in their backgrounds and to Citrus × jambhiri Lush. for Rough lemon types and lime hybrids that have mandarin in their backgrounds. The most common later classifications of both are given as synonyms. See: Citrus Classification.

 LAT Citrus × aurantiifolia (Christm.) Swingle   Mexican lime Mexican lime
Mexican lime 'Kirk'
Mexican lime
Mexican lime

Key lime
Key lime
Key lime

Thornless Mexican lime
Thornless Mexican lime

Castello lime
Castello lime

Citrus lima Lunan
Citrus medica var. acida  Brandis

Mexican lime
(Key lime, West Indian lime) is the common round lime grown especially in Mexico, Florida and the West Indies. The smaller roundish and seedy Mexican lime used to be the most commonly found lime but recently the seedless Persian lime (Tahiti lime) has become the favoured lime in the U.S. and Europe. In Mexico and other Central American countries people still prefer the Mexican lime. One of the reasons that limit the cultivation of Mexican lime is its extreme sensitivity to frost. This variety originally comes from South East Asia and thrives in similar tropical areas where it flowers throughout the year. In subtropical climate it normally gives one yearly crop and depending on local conditions typically matures by late summer. Besides Mexico, West Indies and the U.S. Mexican lime is commercially grown on a larger scale in Brazil and Peru, mostly for local consumption.

The colour varies from dark green when immature to a yellowish green when ripe. All green lime types turn fully yellow when mature and soon thereafter drop from the tree. For marketing purposes limes are collected when still green. This was originally done to avoid confusion with lemons. For food and drinks the Mexican lime is at its juiciest and best medium ripe, when still partly green. If it is allowed to mature on the tree it loses some of its typical flavour and becomes less juicy.

This is the Key lime of food recipes. The Key Lime Pie familiar from American cooking is made of graham crackers and condensed milk flavoured with lime. Limes used to be grown on the islands of south Florida called The Keys. However, the Persian lime is now the most commonly cultivated lime in mainland Florida and the rest of the U.S. and slowly replacing the original Mexican lime on other markets as well. This in my opinion is a pity because both the juice and the rind oil of Mexican lime have an inimitable and unique lime flavour. The processed lime juice that is popular in Great Britain and Northern Europe is pressed from the crushed whole fruit of West Indian limes and contains some rind oil as well. It has a distinctive flavour that is quite different from fresh lime juice and the processed lime juices marketed in Northern America.

The botanical origin of the Mexican lime was a mystery for a long time. Recent advances in biotechnology have enabled the comparison of fruit chromosomes. In an Analysis of the origin of several citrus species a group of scientists in the University of California found that lime has inherited genes of lemon, citron and the Small-flowered papeda Citrus micrantha
There is a variety called 'Thornless Mexican lime' (bottom picture), which is said to be a budsport of an ordinary Mexican lime. The budwood is reported to have been imported from Mexico. UC-Riverside CVC website tells that the characteristics of the tree suggest it to be a hybrid. However, the fruit are virtually indistinguishable from the ordinary Mexican lime the only feature setting it apart being the thornlessness of the tree.

'Castello lime' is a strain of the Mexican lime that originates from the Valle de Yaqui, Mexico. Home growers have taken a liking to this variety saying the fruit are somewhat bigger and the taste especially flavoursome and good. It has recently been released by the CCPP in California.

Other names for the Mexican lime include: Kagzi nimboo, Limun beladi, Limão galego (Galego) and Lima.

Many countries have their own local varieties:
Egypt: Abu-Srera
India: Pursha
Iran: Khark, Kirk
Madagascar: Ambilobe
New Caledonia: Nouvelle Calédonie
United States: Ballard, Buona Vista, Giant, Honolulu, Inerme, Newell
Viet Nam: Vietnam
West Indies: West Indian

ENG Mexican lime, Key lime, Common lime, West Indian lime
FRA Limette acide, Lime mexicaine
GER Limette, Saure Limette, Limettenzitrone
I TA Limetta mexicana
SPA Lima ácida, Limón agrio, Limón criollo
Photo   (1,7) © Joe Real
(2) © C. Jacquemond / INRA
(3) © Aggie Horticulture TAMU
(4-6) © Jorma Koskinen

LAT Citrus × aurantiifolia  'Giant Key Lime' Giant Key Lime
Giant Key Lime
Giant Key Lime
This variety was developed by H. C. Barrett in Orlando, Florida. This is said to be a spontaneous autotetraploid seedling of a normal diploid Key lime. The variety was selected in 1973 and it was released in 1994 by ARS-USDA. The fruit are reported to be more than twice as large as a common Key lime. The fruit in pictures 2. and 3. were much bigger, close to a medium-sized sweet orange.

In spite of its size it has the full flavour and bite of a regular Key lime, perhaps even more. The developer has suggested it as an ornamental that can be grown in containers. The tree these pictures were taken from was a very vigorous grower and seemed to have more and bigger leaves than the normal lime. The tree had a bushy appearance with several stems shooting from ground level. The tree was handsome to look at and it does make a nice ornamental plant, but you can eat the fruit too. It shouldn't take more than one to make a pie.

Budwood is available at least in California through CCPP

ENG  Giant Key Lime
Photo   © Jorma Koskinen

LAT Citrus × latifolia Tanaka  Persian lime Tahiti lime, Citrus latifolia
Persian lime (Citrus latifolia)
Tahiti limes

Variegated Persian lime
Variegated Persian lime

Persian limes
Persian limes

Bearss lime
Bearss lime
Ripe Bearss limes

Persian lime
(Bearss lime, Tahiti lime) is the elongated or ovate seedless lime, often with beautiful spring green flesh and juice. It is less acidic and often juicier than the Mexican lime (Citrus × aurantiifolia). Thrives in the tropics where it can produce fruit all year around. In most favourable conditions fruit are picked once a month throughout the year. Like other limes that for marketing purposes are picked when still green also the Persian lime turns yellow when fully ripe.

The trees are thornless and bigger than Mexican lime trees. Also the leaves are bigger and darker. The small immature fruits are virtually indistinguishable from small Mexican limes but bigger fruit are often more oval in shape. The Persian lime is slightly more tolerant of cold than the Mexican lime but still prefers warmer areas than lemon.

The Persian lime (Citrus × latifolia) lime is a triploid cross between key lime (Citrus × aurantiifolia) and lemon (Citrus × limon). It does not produce viable pollen. The extremely rare seeds are strongly monoembryonic and do therefore not grow true to type. Most seeds are flat, have a shriveled look and rarely germinate. A plump looking seed might germinate and produce an unknown hybrid.
The exact origin of the Persian or Tahiti lime is lost to history. But we do know that originally it grew neither in Persia nor in Tahiti. The fruit spread from Asia to the rest of the world by two paths. It most likely travelled to Europe and the Mediterranean basin by an old trade route via Persia. It spread to Australia in the early 19th century and later via Tahiti to California during the second half of the 19th century. However, there have been later introductions to Tahiti and other French Polynesia, because of the name perhaps.
The limes grown in Iran today are of the Mexican type. There is a similiar confusion of names with the Indian Otaheite lime, which  travelled to Europe in the early 1800's through Tahiti (Otaheite).

The production in California and Florida is not big enough to meet the U.S. demand and the majority of limes consumed in the U.S. are imported from Mexico. The biggest suppliers of the Persian lime to Europe are Mexico, Brazil, Israel, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The most common cultivated varieties are: ’Bearss’, ’Idemor’ and ’Pond’
Other cultivars include:
'Tahiti' (French Polynesia)
'Taroudant' (Morocco)
'De La Réunion' (

ENG Persian lime, Tahiti lime
Seedless lime, Bearss lime
FRA Lime de Perse, lime de Tahiti
GER Persische Limette, Tahitilimette, Tahiti-Limonelle
I TA Limetta di Tahiti
SPA Lima persa, lima da Persia, lima Tahiti (fruit), limero de Tahiti (tree)
Photos   (1) © Aggie Horticulture TAMU
(2-3) © C. Jacquemond / INRA
(4-6) © Jorma Koskinen


LAT Citrus hystrix DC   Kaffir Lime Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix

Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix

Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix

Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix

Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix
Citrus torosa Blanco
Papeda hystrix

Kaffir lime is the strong spice used in Indonesian and Thai cooking. All parts of the plant are strongly aromatic. Especially the sometimes pungent aroma of the leaves is appreciated. Many consider the leaves of the Kaffir lime to have a stronger scent of citrus than lemon grass, but to retain the aroma, don't over boil. The zest can be used as well but the juice often has a bitter after taste.

The leaves are gathered, several at a time, to form a tube-like shape
. This tube is then turned to an angle (of 45 degrees) and cut with a sharp knife into very thin slices. Cut in this manner you will get longish thin stripes that can be added to food during cooking to release their aroma. Best results are obtained when some of the stripes are added at the start of cooking, some when the liquid is added and the rest only a few minutes before the dish is done. In the tropics Kaffir lime is often sold still attached to a twig or some leaves are added to your bag. In Europe frozen Kaffir lime leaves can be found in oriental specialty food shops.

“Kaffir” means infidel in Arabic, from “kafara”. G. C. Whitworth’s Anglo-Indian Dictionary (1885) states that not only was the term applied by Muslims to unbelievers, but “in Western India the word is a common term of abuse.” When Arab slavers first came to the east coast of Africa they applied the word to the inhabitants, and it is best known today as a derogatory term once used by South African white immigrants of the native Africans. However, the term "kaffir" is not of South-African origin. It is a term that is hundreds of years old in several languages and continues to be used today. It is a descriptive adjective and neither bad nor good in itself. Originally the Karrif Lime was considered inferior to other limes until the unique flavour of its oil in the leaves and zest was discovered.

The next best name Mauritius papeda has not caught wind. It is a much more descriptive name and also botanically correct because Kaffir Lime is a Papeda. De Candolle (DC) received seeds from Mauritius to his botanical garden in Montpellier in southern France. He described Citrus hystrix in 1824 without knowing that it did not grow naturally in Mauritius where it is a later introduction. The fruit is most likely of Indonesian origin and it is known as jeruk purut in Indonesia, juuk purut in Bali, limau purut in Malaysia and djerook pooroot in other ex-colonies of the former Dutch East Indies.

Varieties: Mohéli, Kindia, Nha Trang

See: Merdeka lime, a new Kaffir lime hybrid below.
ENG Kaffir lime (Aust.), Mauritius papeda (UK),
Kuffre lime (US), Kieffer lime (SE Asia), Leech lime, Makrut lime
FRA Combava, Limettier hérissé, Lime kaffir
GER Indische Zitrone, Kaffir Limette
SPA Lima kafir
Photos   (1-3) © Jorma Koskinen
(4-5) © C. Jacquemond / INRA

LAT Citrus × hystrix 'Merdeka lime' Merdeka lime
Merdeka lime
Merdeka lime

The Merdeka lime is a new lime type that was registered by the Department of Agriculture in Malaysia on December 16, 2010. The plant variety registration number is PVBT011/10.  It is a cross of the Kaffir lime Citrus hystrix and the Calamondin (Kalamansi) Citrus × microcarpa. The cross was made by T. Devandran.

The new hybrid shows more characteristics of the Kaffir lime parent. It is reportedly more fragrant than either of its parents and also more resistant to disease and pests. Because of its growth pattern it is well suited for landscaping as well.

Mr. Devandran who made the selection reports: ‘Merdeka’ lime might not look much different from the Kaffir lime but peeling off the rind will fill a whole house with its freshening fragrance. The fruit has a firm pulp but a slightly bitter taste. Some fruits are completely seedless but some have a few seeds in them. The leaves are naturally glossy and have a strong citric aroma. They can be crushed and kept in an airtight bottle. Add boiling water to 1 teaspoon of these dried leaves and you will have a nice cup of tea with a strong lime aroma. The fragrance of the leaves and rind oil are definitely amazing in comparison with other limes and lemons.

A recent stydy conducted by the Faculty of Food Science and Technology at the Putra University, Malaysia (UPM) showed that the Merdeka lime leaves have 3 times higher anti-oxidant properties compared to other limes.

Any further enquiries about this new lime hybrid should be sent to Levarson Biotech.

ENG Merdeka lime
© T. Devandran

 LAT Citrus × limon 'Limetta'  Limetta
(Sweet) Limetta, Citrus limetta

Marrakech limonetta
Marrakech limonetta
Marrakech limetta

Pomona acidless lemon
Syn Citrus limetta  Risso
Limetta (Limette de Tunisie, Mediterranean sweet lemon) is the sweet lemon of the Mediterranean basin. The French name Mamelon means nipple and refers to the shape of the fruit. The Mediterranean sweet limetta is an old and reasonably well-known fruit in the Mediterranean and has considerable importance in Tunisia and some localities in Italy.  

Limetta has three well-known, closely related varieties: The Marrakech limetta (Moroccan limonetta, Limoun Boussera), the Millsweet limetta below and Pomona sweet lemon (bottom picture). Marrakech limetta is medium-sized, apex strongly flattened with broad and deep areolar furrow surrounding a prominent nipple. Rind thin, moderately pitted with sunken oil glands and somewhat bumpy; color light yellowish-orange. Segments about 11. Flesh color pale yellow, juicy, very sour and aromatic.

Pomona is a variety on unknown origin. The budwood for the variety that is available was collected  from a very old tree in North Pomona, CA. The fruit is usually seedless, very sweet and has almost no acidity. The flavour is pleasant and the rind flavour is distinct and sharp. The tree is said to be exceptionally hardy.

In view of the few and minor differences between Limetta and Millsweet limetta, the confusion in the literature and otherwise is readily understandable but nevertheless unfortunate. The fruit is almost indistinguishable from Millsweet limetta except that Mediterranean Limetta is acidless, hence even more insipidly sweet; chalazal spot is cream-colored instead of purple.

In addition, this fruit has often been confused with the Indian or Palestine sweet lime (Citrus limettioides), which it resembles only slightly.
In an Analysis of the origin of several citrus species a group of scientists in the University of California recently found by studying its chromosomes that the bergamot Citrus bergamia is a cross of sour orange and limetta.

Other cultivated varieties: Boufarik (Algeria), Sarbati (India), Shah (Iran), Marrakech (Morocco), Nicaragua (Nicaragua), Lydenbourg (South Africa) and Tunisie (Tunisia)

Limetta is sometimes also called Italian lime or Mediterranean sweet lime. 

 ENG Limetta, Sweet limetta, Mediterranean sweet lemon
Sweet lemon, Sweet lime, Italian lime
 FRA Limette à mamelon, Limette d’Italie, Limon doux, Limetta de Tunisie
 GER Echte Limette, Süsse Limette, Süsse Zitrone
 I TA Limetta
 ESP Limón dulce
 Photo     (1) © Home Citrus Growers
© Jorma Koskinen
(4) © CCPP

LAT Citrus × limon 'Millsweet' 'Millsweet' limetta
'Millsweet' limetta
 Syn   Citrus limetta Risso 'Millsweet'
  The Millsweet limetta comes originally from the Mediterranean region. It came through Mexico to the US where it was named Millsweet in 1943. The fruit is low in acidity so the juice is sweet. The Millsweet flowers and produces fruit throughout the year but the main flowering season is in the spring. 
ENG Millsweet limetta, Mexican sweet limetta
FRA Limette millsweet
I TA Limetta millsweet
SPA Lima dulce millsweet
© UCR Citrus Variety Collection
Link UCR Citrus Variety Collection      

LAT Citrus × limon  (L.) Osbeck  'Indian Lime'
Indian lime, Citrus × limon

Indian lime, Citrus × limon

Palestine sweet lime, Citrus × limon
Syn   Citrus limettioides Tanaka
Indian lime
(Palestine sweet lime) is a sweet lime of Indian origin often thought to be a hybrid of limetta and lime. In
A study of the genetic origins of various citrus species a group of scientist at the University of Catania found the Palestine Sweet lime to be a cross of sour orange and citron and therefore to have the same parental origin as the lemon.
The Indian sweet lime has less sugar than for example a sweet orange but it has almost no citric acid and therefore tastes sweeter. To some people the taste feels insipid.
The tree has big shiny leaves that are often cupped or rolled. The fruit is large for a lime and usually has a pronounced nipple. The colour turns orange-yellow when fully mature.

It is one of the few limes that can be enjoyed fresh.
In India the fruit are also cooked whole and eaten as a dessert or preserved either pickled or as a jam. The Palestinian coast and Egypt have also long been areas where this sweet lime is traditionally grown. Also known as the Palestine lime and in Egypt as Limun helou.

Cultivated varieties: ‘India’, ‘Columbia’, ‘Soh Synteng’ and ’Palestine’
Other varieties include: Soh Jew (India) and Chiri Dezfoul (Iran).

ENG Indian lime, Indian sweet lime, Palestine (sweet) lime
FRA Lime douce de l'Inde, Lime douce India, Limettier doux
GER Palästinische Limette
I TA Limetta dolce dell’India
Lima dulce india, lima de Palestina
IND Mitha nimbu, mitha nebu, mitha limbu
Photos    © Jorma Koskinen

LAT Citrus × limon  (L.) Osbeck  ’Mary Ellen’
'Mary Ellen' sweet lime
'Mary Ellen' sweet lime'Mary Ellen' sweet lime
 Syn Citrus limettioides Tanaka ’Mary Ellen’

Mary Ellen
, is an originally Mexican sweet lime variety grown and developed  in the United States for commercial use. The budwood is reported to have arrived from Valley of the Yaqis, Sonora, Mexico. Another lime that can be eaten fresh. The fruit have almost no acidity so the taste to some feels insipid, almost uncitrus-like. 

The tree is a medium-sized bush with the limbs having a low, spreading habit. The weight of the fruit bends the limbs down so that the fruit often touch ground. The flowers have no purple but are of pure white colour. The fruit are of medium lime size, mostly round, sometimes slightly oval. Raw fruit are pale green, ripe fruit pale yellow.

ENG Mary Ellen Sweet Lime
I TA  
SPA Lima dulce Mary Ellen
Photos   (1) © Joe Real
 (2-3) © Jorma Koskinen


   Citrus × jambhiri Lush.
 LAT Citrus × jambhiri  Lush.  Rough lemon, Citrus jambhiri
Rough lemon, Citrus jambhiri
Cultivated varieties:
’Estes’, ’Milam’, 'McKillop' and 'Lockyer'

Rough lemon is a cross of mandarin and citron.
It is discussed in >> lemons.

 ENG Rough lemon, 
 FRA Citron verruqueux,
 GER Rauhschalige Zitrone
 I TA Rugoso
 SPA Limón rugoso
Photo   © CINHP / G. McCormack,
with permission

 LAT Citrus × jambhiri  Lush. 'Vangassay' Vangassay, Citrus jambhiri
Vangassay (Vangasaille) is a variety of Rough lemon.

It is discussed in >> lemons.

 ENG Vangassay
 FRA Vangasaille
Photo   © Gene Lester

LAT Citrus × jambhiri  Lush.  'Mandarin Lime'
Citrus × jambhiri 'Kona Lime'
Citrus × jambhiri 'Kona Lime'
Citrus limonia 'Kona Lime'
Syn Citrus × limonia Osbeck
Citrus limonelloides Hayata
Citrus limon × Citrus reticulata
The former Citrus × limonia group consists of several closely related types of citrus trees. All are crosses between lemon and mandarin. They resemble the mandarin in appearance but taste more like limes.

The Mandarin lime is thought to have originated in China, where it is called the Canton lime or Canton lemon. Although botanically closer to mandarin the mandarin lime owes its name to its many lime-like uses and because most types are not suited for eating fresh due to their high acidity.

The mandarin lime has three well known varieties: Rangpur, Otaheite and Kusaie, which are described below. A variant of this type is
described in lemons as a variety called mandarin lemon.

ENG Mandarin lime, Mandarin lemon, Lemandarin
Canton lemon, Chinese lime,
FRA Lime de Canton
SPA Lima de Cantón, limón cravo, limón mandarina
Photos The lime in the pictures is a Hawaiian Citrus limonia variety called 'Kona Lime' © Ken Love /
 LAT Citrus × jambhiri  Lush. 'Rangpur'  Rangpur Lime
Rangpur lime, 'Rangpour jaune'
Rangpur lime 'Rangpour rouge'
Rangpur lime 'Borneo'

Rangpur lime
Rangpur lime
Rangpur lime
Syn Citrus × limonia var. rangpur Osbeck

Rangpur lime
 is an Indian Mandarin lime variety. It has many closely related cultivars. The colour range varies. In spite of its mandarin-like appearance the taste is closer to lime. The tree is usually vigorous and productive, medium-sized, spreading and drooping, with slender twigs, comparatively few and small thorns. Foliage is dull-green and mandarin-like, and new shoot growth lightly purple-tinted.  Flowers small and mandarin-like and buds and petals deeply purple-tinged.  

The trees bear a lot of fruit from November to early spring. In India 20 - 40 % of Rangpur juice is added to mandarin juice to improve its flavour. The Rangpur lime is considered a superior fruit for marmalade in the regions where it is grown. The flavour is said to surpass the flavour of both the Seville orange 'Sevillano' and the bittersweet orange as a marmalade ingredient.

In the United States the Rangpur lime is widely used as a hardy, dooryard fruit and ornamental and as a potted or tubbed plant. It is especially well adapted for such uses since it propagates readily from cuttings and is easily dwarfed when the roots are confined.

The Rangpur lime is most valuable as rootstock for other citrus varieties. The citrus industry of Brazil uses at least three different clones of Rangpur as rootstock: Limeira and Taquatiringa named after two towns in the state of São Paulo, Brazil and Santa Barbara from California.  Recently a Brazilian nursery has introduced a new cultivar Citrolima, which in addition to being more vigorous is said to be resistant to Scab and Foot Rot as well.

There seem to be several strains of the Rangpur lime that markedly differ in appearance. The clone prevalent in the U.S. has a very mandarin-like appearance and indeed looked at from a distance it would be difficult to tell one apart from the other. This type of Rangpur lime has a smooth skin and no neck or nipple. Other types like 'Borneo' are more ovate in shape and have a prominent nipple and a coarser skin.

Rootstock varieties: Limeira, Tatuatiringa, Santa Barbara, Citrolima.
Other cultivated varieties include: Pook Ling Mung, Javaansche, Bakrai, Sangui and Arabie Saoudite.

Pictures: At the top two different colour variants, yellow (Rangpour jaune) and red (Rangpour rouge) limes growing in the SRA-CIRAD citrus station on the island of Corsica, France. In the middle a 'Borneo' Rangpur lime (VI 513 CCPP). The three bottom pictures show Rangpur limes grown in California.

 ENG Rangpur lime
 FRA Lime Rangpur
 GER Rangpur Mandarinenlimette
SPA Lima rangpur
 IND Sylhet lime, surkh nimboo, sharbati
(1-2) © C. Jacquemond / INRA
(3) © CCPP
© Jorma Koskinen
 LAT Citrus × jambhiri  Lush. 'Otaheite'
'Otaheite' lime
'Otaheite' lime
'Otaheite' lime
 Syn Citrus × limonia Osbeck 'Otaheite'
Citrus limonia Osbeck var. otaitensis Tanaka
Citrus taitensis Risso
Citrus otaitensis Risso & Poit.

Otaheite lime
is considered an acidless, sweet form of the Rangpur lime. In many languages it is called Otaheite orange or Otaheite Rangpur. The tree is similar to the common Rangpur but less vigorous and hence dwarfed.  It is almost thornless and the purple coloration on the new shoot growth is more intense.  Likewise, the fruit is similar but somewhat smaller, more commonly necked, contains fewer normal seeds (often none), and is insipidly sweet from lack of acid.
The Otaheite lime is thought to have originated in India as are many other varieties of the mandarin lime. The name is a misunderstanding. To Europe it arrived via Tahiti and Risso described it in Paris as a citrus from Otaite (Tahiti) in 1813.  Its route from there on is unknown but it was first listed as a potted ornamental in a 1882 nursery catalog in California.

The tree blossoms beautifully in winter and in the citrus belt and Central Europe it is grown in containers as a house plant. In small pots it grows in a dwarfed form but thrives all the same. The flowers are tinted purple on the outside and have a fresh and agreeable scent. Especially when grown in containers the tree sometimes bears flowers and fruit simultaneously at Christmas time and makes a strongly fragrant ornamental.

 ENG Otaheite lime, Otaheite orange, Otaheite Rangpur, Tahiti orange
 FRA Orange Otaheite
 GER Otaheite-Orange
Photo   (1-2) © Jorma Koskinen
(3) © Gene Lester
 LAT Citrus × jambhiri  Lush. 'Kusaie'
'Kusaie' lime
'Kusaie' lime
'Kusaie' lime
Cut Kusaie fruit
Syn Citrus × limonia Osbeck 'Kusaie'

Kusaie lime
is presumably also a form of the Mandarin lime and it is even more limelike in aroma than Rangpur or Otaheite. It is believed to have evolved in India as well where virtually identical fruits are called nasnaran and nemu tenga. Hawaiians believe that early Spanish settlers planted it on Kusaie (nowadays Kosrae) in the Caroline Islands of Micronesia.This fruit was introduced into Hawaii by Henry Swinton in 1885 and from there to the United States by Webber in 1914.
The fruit is oval, oblate or round and sometimes faintly necked at the base, the apex rounded or with a slight pointed nipple; 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 in (4-6.25 cm) wide. The peel is deep-yellow with prominent oil glands, medium-thick to thin, leathery and easily removed. Pulp is honey-yellow, in 8 or 9 segments having tender walls; melting, somewhat less acid than the true lime and not so rich in flavor; contains 6 to 10 small seeds; the abundant juice is colorless and transparent.
The tree is vigorous, of bushy habit, branched to the ground, but reaching 10 to 20 ft (4.5-6 m) in height. It has only a few small thorns and oval to lanceolate leaves. New growth is pale-green; sends up many root sprouts, forming thickets. It is generally grown from seeds and seedlings may be less thorny and seedy than their parents; can be grafted onto sour orange or other non-sprouting citrus rootstocks to avoid root suckers. Fruiting begins in 1 1/2 to 3 years and the tree is nearly everbearing and prolific. In Hawaii, 11-year-old trees have borne 2,000 fruits, nearly 200 lbs (90.5 kg) per tree. The Kusaie lime is cold-tolerant, immune to withertip but prone to scab and root-rot. It is a common dooryard fruit tree in Hawaii and also grown in Trinidad, but it is little-known elsewhere.
 ENG Kusaie lime.
Photo   (1-3) © Jorma Koskinen
(4) © Gene Lester


LAT Citrus assamensis  S. Dutta & S.C. Bhattach. Ginger lime

Ginger lime

Citrus assamensis

Ginger lime
Citrus pennivesiculata (Lush.) Tanaka var. assamensis hort.

"Ginger lime
is a fairly tall tree (up to 4 m) of medium vigour with an open growth habit. When fully grown the tree may look leggy with sparse foliage. It has medium length thorns. Flower and leaf buds have purplish colour. Leaves are elliptical, 8 × 4 cm in size with crenellated edges and have a faint ginger odour when crushed. Fully-grown flowers have white petals.

The fruit is ovoid, yellow-green when ripe with a smooth skin and a vestigial nipple. It is 8 × 7 cm in size and has 11-13 segments with firm, yellow flesh and about a dozen seeds. The thick (1 cm) rind is tightly adherent with a white albedo. Fruit hold well on the tree but rind colour fades when exposed to sun. The tree is an average producer. In appearance it looks more like a lemon than a lime. It gets its name from Assam India where people consider its aroma similar to that of ginger."

The preceding description was given by Gene Lester, who grows this tree in Central California.

Ginger lime (Citrus assamensis) was taxonomically thought to be close to Kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix), but its authors Bhattacharya and Dutta considered it sufficiently different to deserve a separate rank in their comprehensive monograph on the citrus fruits of Assam (1956).

It has later been suggested to be a cross of a citron (Citrus medica) and a local lemon variety in Assam, India.

It is called Ada jamir in Hindi, A da ya mi in Chinese and Adajamiru and Adashamii in Japanese.

Cultivated variety: Moï

ENG Ginger lime, Ada Jamir, Assam lime
Photos   (1-2) © Jorma Koskinen
(3-4) © Gene Lester


LAT Citrus longispina  Wester  Winged lime
Winged lime
Winged lime
Blacktwig lime
Blacktwig lime

"Winged lime, is an unusual lime in that it has a fair amount of sugar, so it can be eaten out of hand by most people. Pleasant lime flavor. Fruit is globose, about 8 cm and gets ricey if left too long on the plant. Lots of long thorns, as the name implies.
Very unusual dark brown, almost black twigs. This color is retained in two- and sometimes three-year wood, the only citrus that I know of that has this characteristic. I called it "Blacktwig" for obvious reasons.
I planted some longispina seeds from UCR, and years later, when they first fruited, I could see that they were my Blacktwig, both from the fruit taste and dark twigs.

This information was given by Gene Lester, who grows this variety in Central California.

"Blacktwig" is one of the most beautiful and striking citrus trees I have seen. The deep violet-black twigs form a spectacular background for the pale green leaves and the pale yellow fruit. The Latin name longispina means long thorns and they are giant in size, by far the biggest and strongest thorns I have seen on a citrus tree, longer and thicker than on any trifoliate hybrid.
Gene's 8-foot tree has a spreading bushy appearance with slender long branches bending down under the weight of the fruit in heavy grapefruit-like clusters. It makes a beautiful ornamental plant and is very productive, but needs space. The taste is sweet but lacks acidity, some might say the fruit tastes a bit insipid. Definitely worth having as an ornamental and at least children like the plentiful fruit.
Winged lime is called Tai la mi san in Chinese and Taramisan in Japanese.

ENG Winged lime, Blacktwig, Megacarpa papeda
Photos    (1-2) © Jorma Koskinen
(3-4) © Gene Lester



 LAT Citrus × microcarpa Bunge 1833 Calamondin, Citrus × microcarpa
Calamondin, Citrus × microcarpa
Citrus madurensis Loureiro (1717-1791)
Citrus mitis  Blanco 1837
XCitrofortunella mitis  J. Ingram & H. E. Moore 1975
Citrofortunella × microcarpa (Bunge) Wijnands 1984
Citrus japonica Thunb. 'Nagami' × Citrus sunki Tanaka

For an explanation of the botanical names, see Citrus Classification, example D.

Calamondin is a cross between the Sour mandarin (Citrus sunki Tanaka, formerlly Citrus reticulata var. austera Swingle) and the Nagami Kumquat (Citrus japonica Thunb.' Nagami', formerly Fortunella japonica Swingle). It is listed here under limes because of its many lime-like food uses.

For a more detailed description, see >> Kumquat hybrids.

ENG Calamondin, Golden lime, Kalamansi lime, Panama orange, Musklime, Philippine lime
FRA Calamondin
GER Calamondine, Zwergapfelsine
SPA Calamondin, Lima de las Filipinas, Lemonsito
Photos    (1) © CCPP
(2) © Jorma Koskinen
(3) © Joe Real

Page revised 13 March 2011

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