Citrus glauca

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Desert Lime
Citrus glauca fruit.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. glauca
Binomial name
Citrus glauca
(Lindl.) Burkill
  • Atalantia glauca (Lindl.) Benth. & Hook.f.
  • Atalantia glauca var. inermis F.M.Bailey
  • Eremocitrus glauca (Lindl.) Swingle
  • Triphasia glauca Lindl.

Citrus glauca, commonly known as desert lime, is a thorny shrub or small tree native to Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia.[2][3]

Description & uses[edit]

Citrus glauca in the wild.

The desert lime fruit is a highly prized bushfood used in a range of products, including marmalades, beverages, and succade. It has a strong lime-like flavour.[4] It is a thorny shrub or small tree native to Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia.[2][3]


Traditionally, it is wild-harvested from surviving bushland areas, where it is relatively common. However, C. glauca has also been extensively cleared from some areas due to the ongoing conversion of the wild bush into agricultural fields. At the same time, the fruit is beginning to be domesticated. Commercial cultivation of this fruit is beginning to reduce the reliance on wild-harvested product.[5][6]


The taxonomy of the Desert lime is controversial.

Under the Swingle system it was classified in the genus Eremocitrus, a close relative of the genus Citrus. More recent taxonomy considers C. glauca to be included in the genus Citrus, and most authorities treat it this way. Citrus glauca is therefore one of the most resilient Citrus species, and is comparatively heat, drought, and cold tolerant. Hence the species is potentially important for Citrus breeding programs, and readily hybridises with many common Citrus species.

Australian outback lime[edit]

The Australian Outback Lime.

The Australian Outback Lime was selected by CSIRO scientists from the regular desert lime. It is characterized by its upright habit, relatively large, flavoursome fruit, high yield, uniform ripening time, lack of thorns, and suitability for mechanical harvesting. The Australian Outback Lime was cultivated at the former CSIRO Plant Industry site at Merbein, Victoria by Dr. Steve Sykes.[7]


The eremolemon

The eremolemon is thought to be a Citrus glauca × Citrus meyeri hybrid. It grows quickly and tolerates saline soil.[8] Citrus plants hybridize readily. The eremolemon is thought to be a natural true-breeding cross between the desert lime and the Meyer lemon.[8] Other hybrids include eremoranges, eremoradias (hybrid with a sour orange) and citrangeremos (hybrid with a citrange).[9]


  1. ^ The Plant List
  2. ^ a b Burkill, Isaac Henry. 1932. Gardens' Bulletin, Straits Settlements 5(Index): 3. Citrus glauca
  3. ^ a b Citrus pages, Native Australian Citrus, Citrus glauca
  4. ^ Cherikoff, Vic, Uniquely Australian ISBN 0-646-07470-9
  5. ^ Cherikoff, Vic, The Bushfood Handbook ISBN 0-646-15496-6
  6. ^ Low, Tim, Wild Food Plants of Australia, ISBN 0-207-14383-8 .
  7. ^ Science Image by CSIRO
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^