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Useful Tropical Plants

Citrus hystrix

DC.

Rutaceae

+ Synonyms

Citrus aurantium saponacea Saff.

Citrus auraria Michel.

Citrus balincolong (Yu.Tanaka) Yu.Tanaka

Citrus bergamia unguentaria M.Roem.

Citrus bergamia ventricosa (Michel) M.Roem.

Citrus boholensis (Wester) Yu.Tanaka

Citrus celebica Koord.

Citrus combara Raf.

Citrus echinata St.-Lag.

Citrus hyalopulpa Yu.Tanaka

Citrus kerrii (Swingle) Yu.Tanaka

Citrus latipes Hook.f. & Thomson ex Hook.f.

Citrus macroptera Montrouz.

Citrus micrantha Wester

Citrus papeda Miq.

Citrus papuana F.M.Bailey

Citrus southwickii Wester

Citrus torosa Blanco

Citrus tuberoides J.W.Benn.

Citrus ventricosa Michel

Citrus vitiensis Yu.Tanaka

Citrus westeri Yu.Tanaka

Fortunella sagittifolia F.M.Feng & P.I.Mao.

Papeda rumphii Hassk.

Common Name: Kaffir Lime

Citrus hystrix
Fruits
Photograph by: Robyn Jay
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0
Citrus hystrix Citrus hystrix Citrus hystrix Citrus hystrix Citrus hystrix Citrus hystrix

General Information

Kaffir lime is a small, thorny, evergreen shrub or tree that can grow 3 - 12 metres tall. It has a short, crooked, thin bole[
320
Title
Trees Commonly Cultivated in SE Asia
Publication
 
Author
Jensen. M.
Publisher
FAO Regional Office, Bangkok.
Year
1999
ISBN
974-89377-5-5
Description
 
,
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
].
The plant is a very popular ingredient of Thai dishes[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
]. It is commonly cultivated in gardens there and very occasionally grown as a minor crop in mixed orchards[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
]. The tree is also cultivated in other areas of the world including Central America, Africa (Mascarene Isl.), and the Hawaiian Islands[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.

Range

E. Asia - Southern China, Indian Subcontinent, Malaysia and Indo-China.

Habitat

Not known in a truly wild situation[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height4.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated

Cultivation Details

The plant can tolerate occasional, short-lived frosts[
377
Title
Trade Winds Fruit
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The on-line catalogue of a company selling seeds. Gives descriptions, photos and uses of a very wide range of fruit and other food-producing plants plus ornamentals.
]. Three main climates are suitable for commercial citrus production - tropical climates, subtropical with winter rain such as in the Mediterranean and semitropical with summer rainfall as found in Florida and southern Brazil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The optimal temperatures for citrus cultivation range between 25 - 30°c, with the coldest month having an average minimum of at least 15°c[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Growth generally ceases below 13°c and above 38°c[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. If there are dry periods of more than three months, then irrigation will be necessary[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
An easily grown plant[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
], it prefers a deep, well-drained but moisture-retentive loamy soil in full sun[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

Leaves - used as a flavouring and in making teas[
296
Title
Tropical Food Gardens
Publication
 
Author
Norrington. L.
Publisher
Bloomings Books (Melbourne)
Year
2001
ISBN
1-876473-41-x
Description
Excellent little book giving some basic information on a range of plants.
,
377
Title
Trade Winds Fruit
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The on-line catalogue of a company selling seeds. Gives descriptions, photos and uses of a very wide range of fruit and other food-producing plants plus ornamentals.
]. The leaves have a lime flavour and can be cut finely then added as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods[
296
Title
Tropical Food Gardens
Publication
 
Author
Norrington. L.
Publisher
Bloomings Books (Melbourne)
Year
2001
ISBN
1-876473-41-x
Description
Excellent little book giving some basic information on a range of plants.
]. They add a pleasant citrus flavour when added to soups and curries[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Fruit - raw. The lemon-scented fruit[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
] is rough skinned with a bitter flavour and only produces a small amount of juice, though this is very powerful and can be added to other fruit juices to make them taste more 'alive'[
296
Title
Tropical Food Gardens
Publication
 
Author
Norrington. L.
Publisher
Bloomings Books (Melbourne)
Year
2001
ISBN
1-876473-41-x
Description
Excellent little book giving some basic information on a range of plants.
]. The fruit is also used in manufacturing preserves[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The fruit is 5 - 7cm in diameter[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

The rind of the fruit can be used as a flavouring in cooked foods[
296
Title
Tropical Food Gardens
Publication
 
Author
Norrington. L.
Publisher
Bloomings Books (Melbourne)
Year
2001
ISBN
1-876473-41-x
Description
Excellent little book giving some basic information on a range of plants.
]. It can be candied or dried and used in curry pastes[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Medicinal

The fruit is used medicinally[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The major use seems to be as an insecticide for washing the head and treating the feet to kill land leeches[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Citrus species contain a wide range of active ingredients and research is still underway in finding uses for them. They are rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, acids and volatile oils. They also contain coumarins such as bergapten which sensitizes the skin to sunlight. Bergapten is sometimes added to tanning preparations since it promotes pigmentation in the skin, though it can cause dermatitis or allergic responses in some people[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. Some of the plants more recent applications are as sources of anti-oxidants and chemical exfoliants in specialized cosmetics[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is a valuable rootstock for cultivated Citrus plants[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Other Uses

Extracts from the skin as well as juice are used as an insecticide for washing the head and treating the feet to kill land leeches[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
].

The fruits are rich in saponins and lather freely in water. They are utilized in hair shampoos and also for washing clothes[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
459
Title
The Useful Plants of the Island of Guam
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 9
Author
Safford W.E.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Smithsonian Institute; Washington.
Year
1905
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive, if rather dated, guide to the plants of Guam. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The fragrant leaves also contain saponins and are used as a hair wash[
459
Title
The Useful Plants of the Island of Guam
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 9
Author
Safford W.E.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Smithsonian Institute; Washington.
Year
1905
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive, if rather dated, guide to the plants of Guam. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Two different essential oils are obtained, one from the leaves and the other from the peel of the fruit[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. They are utilized in the cosmetics industry[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Propagation

The seed is best sown in containers as soon as it is ripe, after thoroughly rinsing it[
164
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 4.
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1990
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Yuccas, one on Sagebrush (Artemesia spp) and another on Chaerophyllum bulbosum.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Sow stored seed in containers as soon as possible]. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 3 weeks at 13°c. Seedlings are liable to damp off so they must be watered with care and kept well ventilated. The seed is usually polyembrionic, two or more seedlings arise from each seed and they are genetically identical to the parent but they do not usually carry any virus that might be present in the parent plant[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until they are 10cm or more tall before planting out into their permanent positions.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. This species grows easily from cuttings[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Layering in October.

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