(Citrus latifolia, C. hystrix, C. aurantifolia, C. limetta)
Other Names: Limbu, Makrut, Limeon, Limone, Limette, Lima, Limon verde, Kalka
The lime tree is exceedingly vigorous; may be shrubby or range from 2 - 4 m high, with many slender, spreading branches, and usually has numerous, very sharp, axillary spines 1 cm long. The evergreen, alternate leaves are pleasantly aromatic, densely set; elliptic- or oblong-ovate, rounded at the base 5 - 7c m long, leathery; light purplish when young, dull dark-green above, paler beneath, when mature; with minute, rounded teeth and narrowly-winged petioles. Faintly fragrant or scentless, the axillary flowers 5 cm across are solitary or 2 to 7 in a raceme, and have 4 to 6 oblong, spreading petals, white but purple-tinged when fresh, and 20-25 bundled white stamens with yellow anthers. The fruit, borne singly or in 2's or 3's (or sometimes large clusters), at the twig tips, is round, obovate, or slightly elliptical, sometimes with a slight nipple at the apex; the base rounded or faintly necked 2.5 - 5 cm in diameter; peel is green and glossy when immature, pale-yellow when ripe; somewhat rough to very smooth, 1.5 - 3 mm thick; the pulp is greenish-yellow in 6 to 15 segments which do not readily separate; aromatic, juicy, very acid and flavourful, with few or many small seeds, green inside.
Lime fruit, and particularly their juice, are used in beverages, such as limeade (akin to lemonade). Alcoholic beverages prepared with limes include cocktails such as gin and tonic, margarita, mojito, and Cuba libre, as well as many drinks that may be garnished with a thin slice of the fruit or corkscrew strip of the peel (twist). One customary consumption of tequila is in shots accompanied by lime wedges and salt. Beer is often served with limes in Mexico, as well as some other countries. Lime juice is also used in commercial soft drinks.In cooking, lime is valued both for the acidity of its juice and the floral aroma of its zest. It is a very common ingredient in authentic Mexican and Southwestern American dishes. It is also used for its pickling properties in ceviche. Additionally, the leaves of the Kaffir lime are used in southeast Asian cuisine. The use of dried limes as a flavouring is typical of Persian cuisine. Lime extracts and essential oils are frequently used in perfumes, cleaning products, and in aromatherapy.
Lime juice dispels the irritation and swelling of mosquito bites.The juice is taken as a tonic and to relieve stomach ailments. Mixed with oil, it is given as a vermifuge. The pickled fruit, with other substances, is poulticed on the head to allay neuralgia and eaten to relieve indigestion. The juice of the Mexican lime is regarded as an antiseptic, tonic, an antiscorbutic, an astringent, and as a diuretic in liver ailments, a digestive stimulant, a remedy for intestinal hemorrhage and hemorrhoids, heart palpitations, headache, convulsive cough, rheumatism, arthritis, falling hair, bad breath, and as a disinfectant for all kinds of ulcers when applied in a poultice.
The lime is more sensitive to cold than the lemon, and can be grown only in protected locations where lomons normally grow. It thrives in a warm, moist climate with annual rainfall between 200 - 400 mm. Nevertheless, it tolerates drought better than any other citrus fruit.
Lime is perfectly adapted to oolitic limestone. The tree grows reasonably well in a variety of other soils. In sandy locations, best growth is achieved by the periodic addition of lime to raise the pH. Other-wise there will be a lighter crop of fruits; they will be larger than normal with thicker peel and less juice.
Lime is usually propagated by seed because most seeds are polyembryonic and reproduce faithfully to the parent. In some areas, root sprouts from mature trees are taken up and transplanted into groves. Sprouting may be encouraged by digging around the parent tree to sever the roots wholly or partly. Cuttings of mature wood may also serve for propagation but usually do not develop strong root systems.