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Australian lime facts for kids

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CSIRO ScienceImage 3400 The Australian Outback Lime
The Australian Outback Lime, a cultivar of the desert lime (C. glauca)

Australian limes are species of the plant genus Citrus that are native to Australia and Papua New Guinea.

These species were formerly included in the genera Microcitrus and Eremocitrus. They have been used as a food source by indigenous Australians as well as early settlers and are used in modern Australian cuisine, including marmalade and sauces.

Species include:

Australian limes
former Eremocitrus

Citrus glauca


former Microcitrus

Citrus warburgiana





Citrus inodora



Citrus maideniana





Citrus garrawayi



Citrus australasica




Citrus australis






Species from Australia

Natural species

  • Citrus australasica (Finger lime), a species from rainforest regions of northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland with elongated yellow-green to purple fruits.
    Citrus australasica green fruit1
    Finger lime
  • Citrus australis (Round lime or Dooja), a species from south-eastern Australia with round, green fruits
  • Citrus glauca (Desert lime), from arid inland areas of inland Australia. Small round fruits are produced in summer.
    Citrus glauca fruit
    Desert lime
  • Citrus garrawayi, (Mount White lime) is rare and endemic to the Cook District of Cape York Peninsula.
  • Citrus gracilis (Kakadu lime or Humpty Doo lime) grows in eucalypt woodland in the Northern Territory and was first described in the scientific literature in 1998.
  • Citrus inodora (Russell River lime or large-leaf Australian wild lime) is rare, and endemic to northern Queensland.
  • Citrus maideniana (Maiden's Australian wild lime) may be a subspecies of C. inodora.

Cultivars

CSIRO ScienceImage 3592 New lime varieties bred from native Australian limes
Blood Lime (biggest, red), Sunrise Lime (orange, pear-shaped) and the Outback Lime, a small, green cultivar of the desert lime

A number of cultivars have been developed in recent years. These can be grafted on to standard citrus rootstocks. They may be grown as ornamental trees in the garden or in containers. Grafted standards are available for some varieties. The cultivars include:

  • 'Australian Outback' (or 'Australian Desert'), developed from several desert lime varieties
  • 'Australian Red Centre' (or 'Australian Blood' or Blood Lime), a cross of finger lime and a mandarin-lemon or mandarin-sweet orange hybrid
  • 'Australian Sunrise', a hybrid cross of finger lime and a calomondin which is pear shaped and orange inside
  • 'Rainforest Pearl', a pink-fruited form of finger lime from Bangalow, New South Wales
  • 'Sunrise Lime ', parentage unknown
  • 'Outback Lime', a desert lime cultivar

Species from Papua New Guinea

  • Citrus warburgiana (Kakamadu or New Guinea wild lime) grows on the south coast of the Papuan Peninsula near Alatau (pictures).
  • Citrus wakonai (also locally called kakamadu) has been reported from Goodenough Island.
  • Citrus wintersii, also known as Citrus papuana (Brown River finger lime) has, as the name suggests, a small, thin fruit, pointed at both ends (pictures, more pictures). It grows near Port Moresby.
  • Clymenia sp. are native to the Bismarck Archipelago but are cultivated in other areas. Clymenia is now often considered to belong within the citrus genus.
    • Clymenia platypoda
    • Clymenia polyandra has a lemon-sized round fruit, pointed at one end (pictures).

Citrus species in Papua New Guinea have not been extensively studied, and there are likely to be more species than are listed here.

Identification

An identification key (p. 6 or 338) exists for the known Australian limes (not including species from Papua New Guinea). The leaves of some species broaden dramatically with age.

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