Lime fruit is similar to lemon, but has a thinner skin, which turns yellow on ripening. Lime is a shrubby tree, to 5 m, with many thorns. Dwarf varieties are popular with home growers. The trunk rarely grows straight, with many branches that often originate quite far down on the trunk. The leaves are ovate 1–3.5 in long, resembling orange leaves (the scientific name aurantiifolia refers to this resemblance to the leaves of the orange, C. aurantium). The flowers are 1 in in diameter, are yellowish white with a light purple tinge on the margins. Flowers and fruit appear throughout the year but are most abundant from May to September. Lime have an odour similar to lemon, but more fresh. The juice is as sour as lemon juice, but more aromatic. The english name lime originated from Arabic limun and Persian limou.
Lime is believed to have originated in northern India and adjoining parts of Myanmar, or in northern Malaysia. The lime is now cultivated throughout the tropics and in warm subtropical areas.
The sour limes were probably one of the first citrus fruits to be carried from the east by the crusaders. Arabs carried the sour lime to North Africa and surrounding regions. It was then transported from Palestine to Mediterranean Europe. By the mid-13th century the small-fruited acid lime was well known in Italy and France. Spanish and Portuguese explorers probably transported this cultivar to the Americas during the 16th century. It was naturalized throughout the Caribbean, Eastern Mexico, tropical South America, Central America and the Florida keys.
A small tree that reaches a height of 3 - 6 m with irregular short, stiff twigs, small leaves and many small sharp thorns. The leaves are pale green about 3 - 5 cm long. The small white flowers are usually borne in clusters. The fruit is dark green in colour about 3 - 6 cm in diameter, oval or nearly globular in shape, often with small apical nipple. The peel is thin and greenish yellow when fruit is ripe. The pulp is tender, juicy, yellowish green in colour and highly acidic.
It is widely used because of its antibacterial, anticancer, antidiabetic, antifungal, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammation, anti-lipidemia, and antioxidant properties; moreover, it can protect heart, liver, bone, and prevent urinary diseases.