Thornless Mexican Lime (Key Lime)
The Thornless Mexican Lime Tree is by far the most popular lime tree in North America. Although not as cold hardy as some other dwarf citrus trees, the dwarf Mexican Lime tree can be successfully container-grown on a sunny porch, your patio or indoors.
The Mexican Lime (C. aurantifolia), is known by many names such as Thornless Mexican lime, Key lime, Bartenderís lime, and West Indian lime.
It does not tolerate frost well and must be moved indoors during freezing weather. However, since it bears fruit year-round, this is actually a good thing. No matter where you live, a lime tree will add a sweet fragrance, delicious fruit, and ornamental appeal to your home garden.
These Mexican lime trees are sensitive to cold. The blossoms are pure white and fragrant. Its fruits are small, approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter, nearly round, with a thin, smooth, greenish-yellow rind that is particularly fragrant. Once Mexican limes reach full maturity, usually in fall to early winter, they drop from the tree.
Flowers and Flower buds are small, and flowering occurs throughout the year but mainly in spring and late summer.
The Mexican Lime tree is medium in size, spreading and bushy with numerous, slender, willowy fine-stemmed branches with small, slender spines. Its foliage is dense and consists of small, pale green, blunt-pointed leaves.
They are somewhat ever bearing but their crop comes mainly in the winter (earlier in very hot climates).
It is reported that Columbus supposedly obtained lime seeds (along with other fruit varieties) during a stop at the Canary Islands in 1493, his 2nd voyage to America. According to several historical accounts, Columbus planted lime trees on the Island of Hispaniola, which were later gathered by Spanish conquistadors, and planted in St. Augustine, Florida (hence the "key lime" name.)