Lime
Citrus × aurantiifolia (Rutaceae family) 

Origin: SE Asia and Australia
Fruiting season: year round
Height: small tree (10 – 15 ft)
Relatives: lemon, orange, grapefruit

Lime is one of the most widely planted and prolific citruses grown in Hawaii. The fruits are bright green and approximately 2” in diameter. Limes are usually used to accent the flavors of foods and beverages and are rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C. Similar to all citrus, the peel contains aromatic oils and the fruit’s zest is used to add citrus flavor to recipes. Citrus trees require a well-drained soil and regular fertilization

The taxonomy of Citrus genus is complex, and cultivation goes back at least 2500 years. While the precise number of species is unclear, all species originated from three primary ancestors: citron, pomelo and mandarin.

Limes exceed lemons in both acid and sugar content. The flesh is juicy, aromatic and acidic, like many of its relatives. The flavor is refreshing with a balance of sweet and sour.

Note: At different times we may have variations in the varieties we carry. Many citrus varieties can be available in dwarf, semi-dwarf, or full size, and either have seeds, low seed, or be seedless.

Citrus Orange Blossom Natureworks Nursery Maui
Lime fruit on tree

Lime

Lime, Mexican – Mexican lime is also known as Key lime, Bartender’s lime, and West Indian lime. Trees are bushy, shrub-like, and the leaves are distinctively aromatic when crushed. The fruits have a thin, smooth, and yellow-green skin. Mexican limes are known for their intense, aromatic, and slightly sweeter taste than regular limes. They are often used in culinary applications especially in desserts such as Key lime pie. They also add a flavorful twist to beverages, dressings, and marinades.

Lime, Tahitian – Tahitian lime is also known as Persian lime, seedless lime, and Bears lime. The fruits are medium-sized with a glossy yellow-green skin. The taste is less acidic and milder than the more common Mexican/ Key limes. They are usually seedless, making them convenient for various culinary uses. Their juice is a common ingredient in cocktails, marinades, dressings, desserts, and savory dishes.

Lime, Sweet – Sweet limes are a cross between Mexican limes and sweet lemons. The fruits have the delicate, floral flavor of limes but without the intense acidic flavor. They can be eaten fresh, added to salads, juiced for limeade, cocktails, dressings or marinades. Additionally, Sweet limes are delicious cooked and made into chutneys, relishes, and jams. They are also great for dessert recipes where more sweetness is desired.

Lime, Limequat – The limequat (Citrus × floridana) is a cross between Key lime and kumquat. The fruit is small and round, resembling kumquat in size. Limequats have a thin, edible skin and a juicy flesh. The flavor is a unique combination of the tartness of Key limes and the sweetness of kumquats. The skin adds an extra dimension, providing a burst of refreshing citrus aroma. They are versatile and can be used in various culinary applications, such as preserves, marmalades, and a flavorful addition to beverages, dressings, and desserts.

Finger lime – Native to the rainforests of Australia, Finger lime (Citrus australasica) trees are relatively small, bushy and have elongated fruits. It is also known as “citrus caviar” as it has caviar-like vesicles. The vesicles burst open when the fruit is cut, resembling tiny pearls. The fruit varies in color including green, red, yellow, and brown to black, depending on the variety. The tiny juice-filled pearls have a distinctive lime-flavor, offering a burst of tanginess. Fruits are prized in culinary applications, especially as a garnish in gourmet dishes, salads, and seafood. The unique texture and flavor add a delightful element to both sweet and savory dishes.