The Key lime (Citrus aurantifolia) is a citrus species with a globose fruit, 2.5–5 cm in diameter (, that is yellow when ripe but usually picked green commercially. It is smaller and seedier, with a higher acidity, a stronger aroma, and a thinner rind, than that of the Persian lime (Citrus x latifolia). It is valued for its unique flavour compared to other limes, with the Key lime usually having a more tart and bitter flavour. The name comes from its association with the Florida Keys, where it is best known as the flavouring ingredient in Key lime pie. It is also known as West Indian lime, bartender’s lime, Omani lime, or Mexican lime, the latter classified as a distinct race with a thicker skin and darker green colour. Philippine varieties have various names, including dayap and bilolo. C. aurantiifolia is a shrubby tree, to 5 m (16 ft), with many thorns. Dwarf varieties exist which can be grown indoors during winter months and in colder climates. Its trunk rarely grows straight, with many branches, often originating quite far down on the trunk. The leaves are ovate, 2.5–9 cm (1–3.5 in) long, resembling orange leaves (the scientific name aurantiifolia refers to this resemblance to the leaves of the orange, C. aurantium). 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 in the Northern Hemisphere.
USDA Zone - 10
Season to Sow - Spring
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