The Citrus aurantifolia tree is thought to be native to the tropical regions of Asia, but is now widely grown in other tropical and subtropical areas of the world, including Brazil, Mexico and the West Indies.
It has a shrub-like appearance with spiky branches, pallid green leaves and clusters of white flowers.
The lime fruits are commonly picked when green and unripe. In this form, they are higher in acid and sugar content than lemons.
It is believed that the Arabs brought the lime to the Mediterranean and Africa around 1000AD, and that the Crusaders introduced the fruit to the western Mediterranean around 1300AD.
In 1493, Columbus took the lime to the West Indies and Spanish settlers subsequently established the tree in Florida. Originally grown on the keys, this gave rise to the term key limes.
Hundreds of years ago, sailors often developed scurvy, a severe vitamin C deficiency on long voyages. In the 19th century, James Lind found that drinking citrus juices could cure this disease. The lime and other citrus fruits were made available on every ship. The term limey comes from this time.
In England, the linden tree (Tilia europaea) is commonly known as lime tree, but is of no relation to Citrus aurantifolia.
Lime peel is a source of lime essential oil, which helps to combat congested skin, cellulite and fatigue.
We use organic lime peel to decorate add texture in our citrus-packed Sexy Peel soap and to gently exfoliate the skin.