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Lime (Citrus aurantifolia) is a small, oval-shaped citrus fruit with a vibrant green color and a sour taste. It is a widely cultivated and consumed fruit globally, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions. Limes are an essential ingredient in various cuisines, beverages, and traditional remedies, making them a significant crop in many countries.


The word “lime” is derived from the Arabic term “limah” (ليمة), which refers to a type of citrus fruit. The term was later adopted into Latin as “lima,” and eventually into various languages, including English.


Limes are a type of hesperidium, a fruit with a leathery rind and segmented pulp. They are usually around 3-6 centimeters in diameter and have a green, smooth, or rough skin, depending on the cultivar. The pulp is divided into segments, or “wedges,” which are juicy and contain seeds.

Taxonomy and Cultivars

Limes belong to the Rutaceae family and are classified as Citrus aurantifolia. There are several cultivars, including:

Key limeSmall, round, and highly acidic
Tahiti limeLarger, oval-shaped, and less acidic
Bearss limeSeedless and sweet
Finger limeSmall, cylindrical, and highly aromatic

Distribution and Habitat

Limes are native to Southeast Asia and are now widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions, including:

AsiaIndia, China, Japan
AmericasMexico, Brazil, United States
AfricaSouth Africa, Egypt
PacificAustralia, Indonesia


Limes are typically grown in well-drained soil and full sun. They are often propagated through cuttings or seedlings and require regular pruning and fertilization.

Production and Uses

Limes are a significant crop in many countries, with global production exceeding 15 million tons annually. They are used in various industries, including:

Food and beveragesJuice, flavoring, garnish
CosmeticsSkincare, haircare
PharmaceuticalsMedicinal properties
Traditional remediesDigestive issues, fever


Limes contain various bioactive compounds, including:

Vitamin CAntioxidant, immune system
FlavonoidsAntioxidant, anti-inflammatory
LimonoidsAntimicrobial, antifungal


Limes are known for their sour taste, which is due to their high concentration of citric acid. The flavor is often described as refreshing and zesty.


Lime juice can cause skin and eye irritation due to its high acidity. Consuming large quantities can also lead to gastrointestinal issues.


Limes are a good source of essential nutrients, including:

NutrientAmount (per 100g)
Vitamin C39.2mg


Limes have significant cultural and symbolic meanings in various societies, including:

MexicanNational symbol, used in traditional cuisine
IndianUsed in Hindu rituals, symbolizing prosperity
ThaiUsed in traditional medicine, symbolizing good luck


Lime is a versatile and valuable fruit with a rich history and diverse uses. Its unique flavor, aroma, and nutritional properties make it an essential ingredient in various industries and cultures. As a widely cultivated crop, lime production plays a significant role in the economies of many countries, ensuring its continued importance in modern times.


“The lime is a fruit that is both sour and sweet, just like life itself.” – Mexican proverb