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Australian Finger Lime fruit
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Australian Finger Lime

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You Haven't Seen a Fruit Like This Before!

Don’t you love the look, smell and taste of a plate of fresh citrus slices? We do too. But that’s not what you’re going to get with the Australian Finger Lime.

This lime is not your typical lime – it’s not even your typical citrus fruit. For starters, it’s not round…or oval…or even vaguely lime-like. It is long and thin, looking more like a pickle than anything else. (Weird, right?)

You also don’t peel this lime or cut it into segments like you do other citrus fruit. Just cut it open and see. When you do you’ll find Australian Finger Lime spills out hundreds of fragrant, juicy little balls that look for all the world like caviar or the boba in the bottom of Asian tea. The little balls burst in your mouth with an explosion of lime flavor. They feel funny, but taste great!

The Australian Finger Lime is a perfect addition to your yard if you live somewhere where citrus trees are happy. If not, it makes a great potted indoor plant in a sunny window all year.

In the wild it is native to the rainforests of Australia, but has only recently been ‘rediscovered’. Nature Hills is happy to be one of the few places that you can find this remarkable fruit in the US.

Being a natural understory shrub in the wild, these trees don’t grow as big and tall as other citrus trees. Also, with its small leaves it is quite delicate looking, but don’t let it fool you. It is tough as nails in the landscape.

We can practically guarantee that you will be one of the only houses on your block with this unique fruit tree. Order one of these from Nature Hills today and be the first to bring this very different “new” fruit to your own kitchen table.

* Completely unique citrus fruit
* Naturally dwarf
* Hot seller at the Farmer’s Market
* Great in containers

Savored Since Ancient Times

The native Aboriginal tribes have consumed the Australian Finger Lime for thousands of years. But it's only in the last 100 or so years that they become of commercial interest, and only since the 1980's have they become popular.

The Finger Lime is native to Australia where they grow in the rainforest of Southeast Queensland and Northern New Wales, located on the eastern seaboard of Australia. The plant is known as an understory plant because it grows under the shade of the forest canopy.

Used for thousands of years by the native Aboriginal population for both food and medicine, the Finger Limes were not considered that important by the original European colonial settlers. Quite often plants were plowed under to make way for farming, with only a select number being saved for fruit production.

First described and named by noted Australian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller in 1858, he originally called the Finger Lime Citrus australasica, and made the first reference to its commercial potential. In 1913 another noted Australian botanist, Frederick Manson Bailey identified a red-fleshed selection that came true from seed in the wild and called it Citrus australasica var. sanquinea.

It is noted that in 1915 the most famous citrus scientist of the time, Walter T. Swingle; while working for the USDA in Washington, DC., reclassified the Australian Finger Lime as a Microcitrus.

This reclassification recognizes the significant difference with true citrus, of which the most important differences are the very small leaves and flowers, and the elongated fruit of the Finger Lime. It is reported that Swingle worked with the Finger Limes while in Washington, but the program never went any further.

Although there has been attempts to reverse this name reclassification, to date this has not happened, and the debate continues. It is however important to note that both Citrus australasica and Microcitrus australasica are both recognized and used interchangeably.

In more recent times, steady interest has grown in the United States, though the first establishment of Finger Limes in the States did not occur until 1966, when Dr. Joe Furr of the USDCS in Indio, California, sent budwood to UC Riverside.

Primarily recognized by the chefs and bartenders at first, the Finger Lime has now become a regular recommendation for the home garden. This is additionally supported by the fact that it is one of the few edible plants that will tolerate a partial day of shade. More recent adaptations show that it takes well to pruning, making it easy to control its size and is well-adapted to being espaliered.

In the future, the consumer can look forward to the many differently colored varieties of Finger Limes including pink, red, orange, yellow and of course the green that is available today.


Australian Finger Lime Is Suited to Grow in Zones 8-11 (Patio 4-11)
Growing Zones 8-11 (Patio 4-11)
More Information
Brand Nature Hills Nursery
Botanical Name Citrus australasica
Mature Height 6 - 8 feet
Mature Spread 4 - 5 feet
Soil Type Well Drained
Moisture Moderate
Sun Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Growth Rate Medium