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Tahiti Lime Citrus x latifolia

Other Common Name(s):

Description

Lime, also known as tahiti lime or persian lime, is a vigorous small hybrid tree in the Rutaceae family, reaching a height and spread of about 20 feet in tropical/sub-tropical regions with a rounded, dense canopy hanging to the ground.  The origin of the fruit is somewhat obscure although citrus research indicates it may have been southeast Asia, specifically east and northeastern India, north Myanmar, and southwest China. The tahiti lime was likely introduced to California from Tahiti, hence it's common name.  It is best known for its juicy and aromatic seedless fruits which are medium to dark green at maturity, becoming yellow before dropping from the tree.  It is most commonly found in grocery stores alongside lemons and oranges.  While the fruits are most often used green for their acidity, they ripen to a sweeter, more fragrant yellow fruit.  In its hardiness zones, it will bloom all year and keep its leaves all year.  Lime is a triploid.

Lime should be planted in the warmest possible location in your landscape, in full sun, at least 20 feet away from other trees and buildings.  It does not tolerate shade.  Lime prefers a pH level of 6.0 or higher in a sandy, loamy soil that is kept moist but drains well.  The tree does not produce as well in heavy clay soil or soils that drain poorly.  Lime trees should be fertilized 3 or 4 times a year and watered regularly especially during times of drought to promote growth and regular fruiting.  Pruning is only required to shape it, remove dead wood and limit plant size.  Propagation methods include grafting or layering. 

Lime juice has no cholesterol and is a source of Vitamin A.  It is also high in Vitamin C and antioxidants which are good for the body.  Even though limes have virtually no seeds and no viable pollen, if the trees are planted in and among other fruit trees, the limes may contain a few seeds.

Plant outside for year-round enjoyment in the proper hardiness zone or put in a planter for movement inside when the weather turns cold. 

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  This plant may cause contact dermatitis in some people.  Lime is moderately susceptible to citrus canker and citrus greening, scale, aphids, leaf miners and mites. Red alga can be a major problem.  Overwatering may cause fungal infections or root rot and the tree to decline in fruit bearing.  Lime trees in the home landscape are susceptible to trunk injury caused by lawn mowers and weed whackers.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#houseplant#white flowers#fruit tree#yellow fruits#green fruits#edible fruits#fragrant fruits#alkaline soils tolerant#evergreen tree#citrus fragrance#tropical feel#contact dermatitis#container plant#wet soils intolerant#shade intolerant#full sun
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#houseplant#white flowers#fruit tree#yellow fruits#green fruits#edible fruits#fragrant fruits#alkaline soils tolerant#evergreen tree#citrus fragrance#tropical feel#contact dermatitis#container plant#wet soils intolerant#shade intolerant#full sun
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Citrus
    Species:
    x latifolia
    Family:
    Rutaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Oil of the tahiti lime is widely used in flavorings and cosmetics. The fruit juice is used in drinks, syrups, jams and jellies, hard candy and baking. It is used as a sauce over meat and fish, and also in marinades. Also used in sherbets, sorbets, ice creams, and pie. The fruit itself is used as a garnish for meats and drinks.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Grafting
    Layering
    Distribution:
    All tropical, sub-tropical regions around the world, especially the Americas including Mexico and Florida
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Edible fruit
    Fragrance
    Edibility:
    Fruit and juice are edible.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Houseplant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Rounded
    Weeping
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    An oval fruit with a thick, pithy rind, often with a nipple-like protrusion at the end of the fruit. The rind contains aromatic oils widely used in flavorings and cosmetics. While the ripe fruit is yellow, limes are commonly sold and used green for a more sour flavor.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers have five white petals, purple-tinged when new, about 1 inch in diameter, with many stamens that contain no viable pollen. The flowers are in clusters of up to five to 10 per raceme. Some bloom occurs all year, with the heaviest bloom occurring from the late winter until early spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are dark green, lighter underneath, oval to lanceolate in shape, 3.5–5 inches long by 1.8–2.5 inches wide. New shoots will be lightly purple in color before changing to green. Leaves may persist on the tree for up to three years.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Has smooth, dark brown bark
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Lawn
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Flowering Tree
    Small Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heavy Shade
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis