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Citrus latifolia - (Yu.Tanaka) Yu.Tanaka

Common Name Citrus Tahitian Lime
Family Rutaceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards Excessive exposure to the essential oil in the peel of the fruit may cause dermatitis [336 ]. Rolling the fruit between the hands before squeezing to extract more of the juice will coat the hands with oil and transfer this to whatever parts of the body are touched before washing the hands [336 ]. Subsequent exposure to sunlight often results in brown or red areas that itch intensely and sometimes severe blistering [336 ]. The tree sap and scratches by the thorns may cause a rash in sensitive individuals [336 ].
Habitats Not known in the wild
Range A species of garden origin.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade
Citrus latifolia Citrus Tahitian Lime

Citrus latifolia Citrus Tahitian Lime
Forest Starr and Kim Starr flickr.com/people/97499887@N06


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Citrus latifolia is an evergreen Tree growing to 5 m (16ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Insects.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


C. x latifolia. C. x aurantiifolia var. latifolia Yu.Tanaka. C. x aurantiifolia subsp. latifolia (Yu.Tanaka) S.Ríos, D.Rivera & Obón .

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Fruit  Leaves  Oil
Edible Uses: Condiment  Drink  Oil

If you only have room for one fruit tree, the Tahitian Lime would be our top choice. The seedless, juicy, thin-skinned fruit has a great flavour and an endless range of uses in the kitchen. The flesh is a translucent pale green, tender and juicy with an authentic acid lime flavour. The fruit is about 6 cm (2.4 in) in diameter, often with slightly nippled ends, and is usually sold while green, although it yellows as it reaches full ripeness. The fruits are used for making drinks [317 ]. The pulp is succulent, firm, very acidic and sugarless [317 ]. The juice is a substitute for vinegar [317 ]. It is also widely available dried, as it is often used this way in Persian cuisine. It is larger, thicker-skinned, with less intense citrus aromatics than Key Lime (Citrus aurantifolia). The advantages of the Tahitian Lime in commercial agriculture compared to the Key Lime are the larger size, absence of seeds, hardiness, lack of thorns on the bushes, and longer fruit shelf life. They are less acidic than key limes and do not have the bitterness of their unique flavour.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antidote  Antiinflammatory  Aromatherapy  Skin  Vitamin C

The juice of the fruit is utilized medicinally [317 ]. Lime juice, given quickly, is an effective antidote for the painful oral irritation and inflammation that result from biting into aroids such as Dieffenbachia spp., Xanthosoma spp., Philodendron spp., and their allies [336 ]. Lime juice is also applied to relieve the effects of stinging corals [336 ]. Citrus species contain a wide range of active ingredients, and research is still underway in finding uses for them. They are rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, acids and volatile oils. They also contain coumarins such as bergapten which sensitizes the skin to sunlight. Bergapten is sometimes added to tanning preparations since it promotes pigmentation in the skin, though it can cause dermatitis or allergic responses in some people [238 ]. Some of the plants more recent applications are as sources of anti-oxidants and chemical exfoliants in specialized cosmetics [238 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Cleanser  Cosmetic  Essential  Hair  Oil

Essential oil is extracted from the peel of the fruit [317 ]. Lime juice is employed as a rinse after shampooing the hair. Light streaks have been bleached in the hair by applying lime juice and then going out into the sun for a time [336 ]. Lime juice has been applied to the face as a freshening lotion [336 ]. The acid juice can be used for cleaning items such as the inside of coffee and teapots [336 ]. Dilute lime juice will dissolve, overnight, calcium deposits in kettles [336 ]. Attracts wildlife. Espalier: tree or other plant that is trained to grow flat against a support (such as a trellis or wall).

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife  Espalier  Food Forest  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

The most widely cultivated lime species commercially. A citrus fruit species of hybrid origin; a triploid cross between Key Lime (Citrus _ aurantiifolia) and Lemon (Citrus limon). Three main climates are suitable for commercial citrus production - tropical climates, subtropical with winter rain in the Mediterranean and semitropical with summer rainfall as found in Florida and southern Brazil [200 ]. The optimal temperatures for citrus cultivation range between 25 - 30°c, with the coldest month having an average minimum of at least 15°c [200 ]. Growth generally ceases below 13°c and above 38°c [200 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 1,500mm, but tolerates 750 - 2,300mm [418 ]. If there are dry periods of more than three months, then irrigation will be necessary [200 ]. Limes prefer deep, well-drained but moisture-retentive loamy soil in full sun [200 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 5 - 7.5 [200 , 418 ]. The plant flowers and fruits all year round but with a distinct fruiting peak towards the end of summer [336 ]. Yields of 41 kilos of fruit have been obtained from trees two metres tall [336 ]. Tahiti lime flowers have no viable pollen [336 ]. When grown on their own, they produce a usually seedless fruit; rarely, the fruit may contain one or a few seeds, especially if planted among several other Citrus species [336 ]. The tree is nearly thornless. Cultivars include Bearss lime, Page lime, Persian lime, Pond's lime, and Tahiti lime. Tolerate light frost. Trees are self-pollinated and suit backyards and orchards. They can be pruned to 2 metres high for use as a large container plant. A wide range of tree sizes is available depending on the rootstock, including dwarf varieties. The time to Fruit/Flower/Harvest is typically 4-5 Years. Pick the fruit green as it can suffer from rot if left to ripen on the tree. Espalier.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed. Usually grafted.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Citrus x latifolia, Tahiti Lime, Persian lime, Seedless lime, Bearss lime

Asia, Australia, Brazil, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Mediterranean, India, Iran, Pacific, Portugal, South America, Tahiti, USA (inc. Florida, California), Venezuela [1-4].

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Not Listed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Citrus aurantiifoliaLime, Key Lime, Mexican Lime, Mexican Thornless Key LimeTree6.0 10-12 MLMHNM423
Citrus aurantiumBitter Orange, Sour orange, Bergamot orangeTree9.0 8-11  MHNM334
Citrus hystrixKaffir LimeShrub6.0 9-12 MLMHNM323
Citrus ichangensisIchang PapedaShrub4.5 7-10  LMHNM22 
Citrus limonLemonShrub3.0 8-11 MMHNM455
Citrus reticulataMandarin, Tangerine, Unshu orange, Satsuma Orange,Temple Orange, TangerineTree4.5 9-11  MHNM332
Citrus sinensisSweet OrangeTree9.0 9-11  MHNM433
Citrus x meyeriLemonShrub3.0 8-11 MMHNM355
Citrus x paradisiGrapefruit, Pomelo, PamplemousseTree7.0 9-11 MLMHNS411

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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(Yu.Tanaka) Yu.Tanaka

Botanical References

Links / References

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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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