How to Identify a Lime Tree
Lime trees are easily identifiable. Citrus trees may look a lot alike at first glance, but there are differences between them. Knowing what the tree parts, flowers and fruit look like will help you to easily identify the lime.
Lime is a shrubby tree that is between six-and-a-half and 13 feet in height. Lime trees are small evergreens.
Lime trees have thin branches and sharp needle-like spines.
A lime tree's leaves are small and oval in shape. The leaves will be dark green on the top and paler on the bottom. They will be between two to three inches in length with a rough surface.
- Lime trees are easily identifiable.
- Lime trees have thin branches and sharp needle-like spines.
Look for a tree that has white blossoms. The blossoms may also have some purple coloration in them. This will only be a slight coloration though. The blossoms grow in groups, and you will notice them clustered together around the tree near the ends of the branches.
Look for fruit that is pale green in color and about half the size of a lemon. The fruit of a lime tree is technically a berry. Limes are quite small and are between one and two inches in diameter. The skin or peel of a lime is quite thin as well. When a lime is ripe, the peel will be pale yellow in color. The pulp of a lime is greenish in color and has a distinctive acidic taste.
- Look for a tree that has white blossoms.
- The pulp of a lime is greenish in color and has a distinctive acidic taste.
If you want the familiar lime that you see most often in supermarkets, chose the Mexican lime. You can grown it in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. The Tahiti lime is larger than the Mexican lime, growing from 15 to 20 feet tall with wide, drooping branches that are nearly without thorns. USDA’s Citrus latifolia “No. 2” cultivars resist viruses that commonly strike citrus trees. If you live in USDA zone 8, a climate that is too cold for either the Mexican or Tahiti limes, your best bet would be the Rangpur lime (Citrus x limona), a hybrid between the mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata) and the lemon (Citrus limon). Rangpur limes are reddish-orange and resemble mandarin oranges.
- If you want the familiar lime that you see most often in supermarkets, chose the Mexican lime.
- If you live in USDA zone 8, a climate that is too cold for either the Mexican or Tahiti limes, your best bet would be the Rangpur lime (Citrus x limona), a hybrid between the mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata) and the lemon (Citrus limon).
Lime trees are very sensitive to cold weather and will not survive in areas that other citrus trees are able to survive in. Be careful of the sharp spines on the branches of a lime tree when you are picking limes. It is easy to be get cut or scratched by them.
- Citrus Tree Care
- Purdue University: Tahiti Lime
- Floridata: Citrus x Limonia
- Purdue University: Mexican Lime
- Lugar do Olhar Feliz: Kaffir Lime, Combava, Kaffernlimette (Citrus Hystrix)
- National Gardening Association: Edible of the Month: Lemons and Limes
Timothy Drew is a writer who draws from his experiences in travel and his daily adventures. He graduated from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn., with a bachelor's in business. He is an English teacher and soccer referee who has worked in the United States, Korea and Thailand, which has given him a wealth of material and a different perspective as an expat abroad.