Citrus latifolia, Persian lime (also known as Tahiti lime or Bearss lime), is a medium-sized, nearly thornless tree in the Rutaceae (citrus family) that produces the most commonly sold lime fruit. The Persian lime is of hybrid origin, most likely from a cross between key lime (C. aurantiifolia) and either lemon (C. limon) or citron (C. medica). Although there are numerous citrus species that are referred to as limes—including key lime, kaffir or makrut lime (C. hystrix), various Australian limes (C. glauca, C. australasica, and C. australis), Mandarin lime (C. limonia), sweet lime (C. limetta), and Palestine sweet lime (C. X limettioides), C. latifolia is the most commonly cultivated lime species for commercial use, and accounts for the largest share of the fruits sold as limes. (The name "lime" may, in the U.K., also refer to the unrelated, non-citrus linden tree, Tilia species.)
Persian lime is typically a medium-sized tree, 4.5 to 6.0 m tall (15 to 20 ft), with wide-spreading, drooping branches. In contrast to many other citrus species, it is often thornless or nearly so. The flowers are white, tinged with purple, and have no viable pollen. The fruit is oval or oblong fruit that is 4 to 6.25 cm (1.5 to 2.5 in) wide and 5 to 7.25 cm (2 to 3 in) long, often with nippled or elongated ends, generally seedless or few-seeded; it is larger and has thicker skins than those of its parent, the key lime. Although generally picked and sold when green, the fruit is yellowish green or yellow when fully ripe. The fruit has a fragrant, spicy aroma and tart flavor, but the aroma and flavor are less intense than those of key lime. However, its has various advantages over the key lime for the purposes of commercial agriculture--larger size, absence of seeds, hardiness, absence of thorns on the bushes, and longer fruit shelf life—that have combined to make it more widely cultivated. These differences are highlighted in the food website, The Nibble (http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/fruits/types-of-lime.asp).
Persian limes are used similarly to key limes, occasionally as a fresh fruit—generally, lime wedges are served as an accompaniment to salads, avocados, or Asian dishes—but more commonly processed into juice, for use in limeade and other non-alcoholic beverages, as well as cocktail beverages, including popular summertime drinks such as daiquiris, Cuban mojitos, and Brazilian caiparinhas.
Persian limes were first grown commercially in what is today southern Iraq and Iran, hence their name, although important varieties were developed in the U.S. (the common name “Bearss lime” refers to the seedless variety developed in 1895 by John T. Bearss in California), and Florida used to be the major producer of these limes. Persian lime rose to prominence after southern Florida’s key lime orchards were destroyed by a hurricane in 1926. However, the 1992 Hurricane Andrew then devastated Florida’s Persian lime orchards, virtually stopping U.S. production of the fruit. Mexico is now the primary grower and exporter of Persian limes for the American, European and Asian markets.
(Khan 2007, Morton 1987, Wikipedia 2012.)
- Khan, I.A. 2007. Citrus genetics, breeding and biotechnology. CABI. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-85199-019-4. Retrieved 25 Mar 2012 from Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=pKlNrSR_8IEC&pg=PA2#v=onepage&q&f=false.
- Morton, J. 1987. Tahiti Lime. p. 172–175.. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL. Available online: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/sour_orange.html.
- Wikipedia. 2012. Persian lime [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. And references therein. Available from: http://eol.org/pages/5619784/details#wikipedia.
Because they are the most frost-sensitive of the commercial citrus species, limes are cultivated mainly in the tropics and are found in only a few subtropical regions where there is no risk of frost (Vaughan and Geissler 1997).
- Vaughan, J.G. and C.A. Geissler. 1997. The New Oxford Book of Food Plants, revised edition. Oxford University Press, New York.
Persian lime (Citrus ×latifolia) or Shiraz Limoo also known as Tahiti lime or Bearss lime (named after John T. Bearss, who developed this seedless variety about 1895 in his nursery at Porterville, California), is a citrus fruit. It has a nearly thornless tree. The Persian lime is of hybrid origin, most likely from a cross between key lime (Citrus aurantiifolia) and either lemon (Citrus ×limon) or citron (Citrus medica).
Although there are numerous citrus species that are referred to as limes—including key lime, kaffir or makrut lime (Citrus hystrix), various Australian limes (Citrus glauca, Citrus australasica, and Citrus australis), Mandarin lime (Citrus ×limonia), sweet lime (Citrus ×limetta), and Palestine sweet lime (Citrus ×limettioides), C. ×latifolia is the most commonly cultivated lime species for commercial use, and accounts for the largest share of the fruits sold as limes.[disputed ] (The name "lime" may, in the U.K., also refer to the unrelated, non-citrus linden tree, Tilia species.)
It has a uniquely fragrant, spicy aroma. The fruit is about 6 centimetres (2.4 in) in diameter, often with slightly nippled ends, and is usually sold while green, although it yellows as it reaches full ripeness. It is also widely available dried, as it is often used this way in Persian cooking. It is larger, thicker-skinned, with less intense citrus aromatics than the key lime (Citrus aurantifolia). The advantages of the Persian lime in commercial agriculture compared to the key lime are the larger size, absence of seeds, hardiness, absence of thorns on the bushes, and longer fruit shelf life. They are less acidic than key limes and do not have the bitterness that lends to the key lime's unique flavor. Persian limes are commercialized primarily in six sizes, known as 110's, 150's, 175's, 200's, 230's and 250's. Once grown primarily in Florida in the U.S, it rose to prominence after key lime orchards were wiped out there by a hurricane in 1926, according to the American Pomological Society; subsequently Persian lime orchards themselves were devastated by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Large numbers of Persian limes are grown, processed, and exported every year primarily from Mexico to the American, European and Asian markets. U.S. Persian lime imports from Mexico are handled mostly through McAllen, Texas.
- Seed type: Angiosperm
- Leaf shape: Ovate shaped with whole margins
- Leaf position: Alternate
- Type of fruit: Hesperidium
- Bearss lime at Citrus Variety Collection Website
- Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook /FTS-333/ July 30, 2008, page 16, by Agnes Perez and Susan Pollack, Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/FTS/2008/07JUL/FTS333.pdf
- Mexican lemons, limes attract U.S. importers, 6/9/2008, by Don Schrack at http://www.bovinevetonline.com/newsCN.asp?contentid=326811 accessed October 26, 2009
- Raichlen, Steven (August 2, 1992). "Small citruses yield tart juice, aromatic oils, big, fresh taste". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
Names and Taxonomy
Grayum et al. (2012) review the somewhat confusing nomenclatural history of Persian (or Tahitian) Lime.
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