Rutaceae (Citrus family)

Description. Evergreen tree with spreading branches, 4-6 m (13-20 ft) tall. Leaves alternate, lanceolate to elliptic with winged petioles. Flowers white with a tinge of pink. Fruits oval to oblong, 5-8 cm (2-3 in) long with rounded bases and a pointed apex. Smooth skin green but becoming pale yellow when fully ripe. Pulp greenish-yellow, fairly aromatic, not very juicy, usually without seeds.

Origin and Distribution. The origin of the Persian lime is unknown, although it may come from the Middle East. It is thought to be a hybrid of the key lime (C. aurantiifolia, p. 64) and either the citron (C. medica, p. 72) or the lemon (C. limon, p. 69). The lime is grown in tropical and in subtropical regions.

Food uses. The fruits of the Persian lime are less aromatic and less sour than the key lime but are used in much the same way in drinks, salad dressings, and numerous other foods. Slices of Persian lime are often used to decorate a variety of dishes and cocktails.

Comments. The Persian lime is often preferred by producers because the tree is almost thornless and hardier, produces larger, seedless fruits, and has a longer shelf life than the key lime. The main producers of Persian limes are the United States, Mexico, and Brazil.

Description. Evergreen tree, 5-8 m (16-26 ft) tall, with drooping branches covered in long, sharp spines. Alternate, oval leaves aromatic when crushed, dark green, leathery, with serrated margins and narrowly winged petioles. Purple-tinged white flowers single or in small clusters, with 4-6 spreading petals. Fruits oval, obovate, or round, apex with short nipple, 6-7 cm (2.4-2.75 in) in diameter, yellow to yellowish-green when ripe with sweet, juicy flesh.

Origin and Distribution. The exact origin of the sweet lime is unknown. Some botanists believe the plant is a natural hybrid between a Mexican lime (C. aurantiifolia, p. 64) and a sweet variety of the lemon (C. limon) that may have originated in India. The fruit was introduced to Mediterranean Europe by Arab traders between 1000 and 1200 BC and brought to the Americas in the sixteenth or seventeenth century by Spanish and Portuguese explorers. Today the sweet lime is cultivated in many tropical and subtropical countries, often as a dooryard or ornamental tree.

Food uses. The sweet lime is a less well-known member of the Citrus genus. The fruits are usually eaten fresh like an orange or made into juice. The fruit is also suited for making jellies and marmalade. In India, it is sometimes made into preserves. In Spain, the sweet lime is eaten as dessert.

Comments. The fruits are high in vitamin C. They are used in traditional medicine to treat fever and colds. The rind contains the essential oils limonene and pinene, among others. The oil is sometimes used for flavoring drinks and food items. The sweet lime is very often confused with the sweet lemon (C. limetta).

Benefits Of: PERSIAN LIME, TAHITI LIME Photo Gallery

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