Citrus limon: Lemon, Lime

Family: Rutaceae
Common name: Lime, Lemon

Citrus limon and Citrus X aurantifolia are the two most common species in the Citrus family, known as lemon and lime respectively. Limes, mostly found in India are small, round, and green before they ripen in to a bright yellow fruit. Lemons are bigger, more elongated, and yellow.

Both limes and lemons are tart in taste, lemons being slightly more sweeter than limes. Both are excellent sources of Vitamin C and are used extensively in cooking. They are used to make juices, marinades, cakes, cocktails, sherbets, pastries, tarts, and are also used preservatives.

In addition to these two common species, the Citrus family also contains oranges, pomelos, mandarin oranges, tangerines, grapefruits and more.

Lemon plants grow into tall shrubs or small trees with bright green, slightly leathery leaves that vary in length from 3-12 cm. Lime trees produce small white flowers with 5 distinct petals.

Once pollinated, the flowers produce fleshy fruits with a thick leathery rind prominently dotted with oil glands. The inner layer is made of up segments each containing numerous fruit vesicles or membranous bags containing the tart fruit juice.

Most lemon fruits can be easily juiced, squeezing them by hand or using simple juicing tools. The inner core contains seeds, though there are seedless variants as well. These seeds can be used to produce new lemon plants, but they do not produce fruits quickly.

Lemon trees hybridize very easily, producing hundreds of variants that differ from each other in size, color, tartness of fruits, tree height, leaf size etc. Lemons are mostly found in tropical countries, but there are many variants adapted to cold weather.

They are said to have originated in the Asian continent from where they were taken to countries all over the world. Now supermarket aisles world over have sections devoted to Citrus fruits ranging in sizes and colors.

In addition to being a rich source of Vitamin C, lemons and limes have many culinary as well as medicinal uses. They reduce the risk of heart diseases, help in weight loss, prevents anaemia, improves gut health, prevents kidney stones, and helps fight cancer.

In addition the juice has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, making them a very easily available health drink, that is also easy on the wallet.

Propagation is through grafting, plant cuttings or seeds, grafting being the more effective method.