Citrus australis (RUTACEAE); Native lime

Native Lime
Citrus australis (Enoggera Creek, Qld.) - fruit - Bruce Noble 2002
Large shrub or small tree to 12m in dry rainforest north from the Beenleigh area; endemic to Qld.

Branchlets often zigzag, with stiff thorns in leaf axils.

Leaves simple, alternate, to 5.5cm by 3cm, elliptic to obovate or almost rhomboid, entire or somewhat scalloped towards the tip; juvenile foliage linear. Blade dark green, with numerous conspicuous oil dots (and hence aromatic). Stalk to 6mm in length.

Flowers white or pinkish, about 1cm across, fragrant; solitary in leaf axils. Appear Aug to Nov.

Fruit a green to greenish-yellow, globular berry to 6.5cm in diameter; rough-skinned (similar to a miniature wrinkled lime). Ripe Nov to Dec.

Edible acidic pulp; ripe fruits are eaten raw or can be made into jam/marmalade and added to cold drinks for extra flavour.

Native Lime - juvenile foliage
Citrus australis - juvenile foliage - Bruce Noble 2002
The dense, prickly habit makes this species a useful nesting site for small rainforest birds.

The dense, compact habit also makes the species useful as a screen plant. It has attractive, dark green foliage, but also sharp, rigid thorns. The species is also grown as a bush tucker plant.

Propagate from fresh seed or cuttings, which are slow to develop roots. Could also be budded onto exotic citrus rootstock.

Hardy but slow-growing, needing some protection when young. Must have excellent drainage and prefers a sheltered position. Appreciates mulching and extra watering during dry periods, and organically rich soil. Moderately frost tolerant.

(Prev. known as Microcitrus australis)