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Citrus aurantifolia

Image of Citrus aurantifolia

Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Common name: Lebu, pati lebu(Beng.); West Indian lime, Bartender's lime, Omani lime, Tahitian lime or Mexican lime, Lime tree(Eng.).
Native Range: Its native to Southeast Asia. Its apparent path of introduction was through the Middle East to North Africa, thence to Sicily and Andalusia and via Spanish explorers to the West Indies, including the Florida Keys. From the Caribbean, lime cultivation spread to tropical and sub-tropical North America, including Mexico, Florida, and later California.

Citrus aurantifolia is a shrubby tree, to 5 m (16 ft), with many thorns. Dwarf varieties are popular with home growers and can be grown indoors during winter months and in colder climates. The trunk rarely grows straight, with many branches that often originate quite far down on the trunk. The leaves are ovate 2.5–9 cm (1–3.5 in) long, resembling orange leaves. The flowers are 2.5 cm (1 in) in diameter, are yellowish white with a light purple tinge on the margins. Flowers and fruit appear throughout the year but are most abundant from May to September.

Citrus aurantifolia are used to flavour many foods. High in vitamin C, they were formerly used in the British navy to prevent scurvy—hence the nickname “limey” for British sailors.