This small, slender and spiny tree grows naturally over the inland dry areas of south western Queensland and western NSW, with a small pocket of habitat in the southern flinders Ranges in SA. It is a true citrus with slender upward facing leaves, 5-8 mm across, and white flowers produced in spring. The fruit are like tiny lemons with a porous rind and juicy but sour centre. The trees often appear in groups formed by suckering, particularly where heavy grazing has occurred.
Desert Limes are normally slow growing, like most of the Australian native Citrus species. However when grown in cultivation they are usually grafted, which makes them faster maturing, more productive and less likely to sucker.
Desert Limes were eaten raw by indigenous people, however most Europeans found them a bit sour, and tended to use them for summer drinks or marmalade jam. Increasingly, gourmet chefs have discovered their unique wild lime flavour a welcome addition to fish sauces, salad dressings, flavoured butter, and a multitude of desserts. One favourite use is in Desert Lime Sorbet.
Similar to: Limes