This year, I was finally able to get one from Stan. I am very excited to add it to my collection. It’s clear from the appearance of the leaves that it is a cross of some type of mainstream citrus with Trifoliate orange, but its parentage is somewhat murky. I’m not sure if it is a 50-50 Trifoliate hybrid, or a more complex hybrid involving three or more parents that involves Trifoliate orange.
In any case, Carolina Lime produces a small fruit about 1.5 inches in diameter, about the same size as Trifoliate orange, perhaps a little smaller than the average Trifoliate orange fruit. Unlike Trifoliate orange fruit, which are fuzzy and a dull, blotchy yellow-orange color, Carolina Limes are smooth and nearly perfectly round, looking much like a large Meiwa kumquat. The color is a more even yellow, though it does greatly resemble the Trifoliate parent. Inside, the pulp and juice are bright green, with 10 segments and 1-3 seeds per segment.
Here is the best part: the taste is a clean lime-like flavor with no Trifoliate taste. When I say “no,” I mean none. It is completely edible out-of-hand (if you like sour fruit). It will make an excellent lemon-lime substitute. When I tasted one again a few days ago, I was surprised that I ate the whole thing (except the peel). It was that good.
As Stan McKenzie has indicated, the Carolina Lime should be reliably hardy to 10F or slightly below – perhaps lower. I think it will make an excellent addition to anyone’s citrus collection. Stan asked me to indicate that currently he is completely sold out of Carolina Lime, though he is working hard to ensure that he will have some available for Spring 2022.
Stan also indicates that Carolina Lime is distinct from another lime-like fruit that is a Trifoliate cross that originated in Texas called “Dragon Lime.” The Dragon Lime apparently arose as a chance seedling from Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon.’ Although both varieties produce a lime-like fruit, the Dragon Lime’s fruit are apparently mostly seedless. The fruit of Dragon Lime are also larger and the pulp is not as bright a green as Carolina Lime. It would be interesting to grow the two side-by-side to study the differences.
I am really looking forward to growing Carolina Lime. Right now, I am dreaming of the Lime pies and other things I may do with this amazing citrus.
Where to Buy (in 2022):
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