Shrub or small tree.
Possibly 50 productive years.
Moderate to fast.
Citrus latifolia: 15-20' high and as wide, often 10-15'.
White, five petals, fragrant to scentless. Reddish buds.
Depends on cultivar. Often spring through fall, possibly
all year in regions without freezes.
All lime cultivars self-pollinate.
Years before fruiting:
3-6 for first fruits. 8-10 years
for full production. Remove all small fruit in the first 5 years to speed
growth of roots, stems and leaves.
Round to oval, sometimes with nipple at blossom end,
Months for fruit to ripen:
5-6 after flowering. Picked green
commercially, but mature when skin is light green or pale yellow.
Storage after harvest:
6-8 weeks in refrigeration.
Oval to lance-shaped, glossy green, slightly fragrant.
Thorny to thornless depending on cultivar.
Sometimes grafted onto a hardy rootstock.
Cultivars of Note:
Citrus latifolia: Tahiti / Persian / Bearss Lime –
larger, oval fruit, seedless, dark green to light green at maturity, milder
flavor, grown commercially;
Citrus limettioides: Sweet / Palestinian Sweet / 'Adelina' Lime –
lemon-sized fruit, light green to yellow at maturity, refreshing juice lacks
acidity (sourness), a plant that deserves wider residential use, and some
would say, better-tasting than Tahiti or Key lime;
Citrus aurantifolia: Key / Mexican / West Indian Lime –
Very frost sensitive, small round fruit, yellow at maturity, limited commercial
X Citrofortunella species: Eustis Limequat –
a hybrid of round kumquat and key lime, lime-like flavor, somewhat more cold hardy
than key lime but not nearly as hardy as kumquat, sold for residential use;
Citrus hystrix: Makrut / Kaffir Lime –
fragrant leaves used in Asian cooking, fruit rind used in Asian curry and Creole
cuisine, fruit has bumpy green to yellow skin, unpalatable fruit juice used in
shampoos and believed to kill head lice.
Attracts insects, birds.
Toxic / Danger:
For some cultivars, exposure to rind oil and sunlight,
or tree sap, causes dermatitis in sensitive individuals. Possible thorns.