When talking about citrus fruits, what comes to your mind first? Could it be lemon, orange, grape, tangerines, or lime?
It is easy to differentiate some of these citrus fruits from one another, but some can be difficult especially if they share similar properties and nutritional benefits.
The lemon and lime tree is one of such citrus fruits that can be difficult to tell apart sometimes.
It’s funny how I used to think that lime and lemon were the same things as citrus fruit. I felt that lime was the underdeveloped and unripe lemon. Now I know better and that’s why in this article I am going to discuss how to tell the difference between lime and lemon trees.
Identifying Citrus Trees By Their Leaves
A glimpse at how some citrus trees can be identified below will enable us to tell the difference between lemon and lime citrus trees.
Orange Citrus Tree:
They possess noticeable features to help identify them easily; some of these features may include leaves that are oval-shaped and narrow winged petioles. They can also grow up to 45ft in length and produce white flowers.
Tangerine Citrus tree:
Some noticeable characteristics may include slender twigs, white flowers with five petals, possessing shiny leaves and they can grow up to 20ft.
Lime Citrus Trees:
They have irregularly branched leaves with small rounded teeth, they produce small white flowers and can grow up to 16ft.
Understanding these citrus tree types will make it easier to differentiate lime citrus trees from lemon citrus trees.
How To Tell The Difference Between Lemon And Lime Trees
To differentiate between lime and lemon citrus trees, I have outlined 5 ways to tell their difference below:
- Skin texture
- Size of citrus tree
- temperate region
1. Skin texture
Lime trees have a smooth textured thin epicarp; the epicarp contains some aromatic compounds that give the lime smell.
Lemon, however, has a thick outer skin and has a succulent epicarp; the lemon citrus tree has about 8-10 segments. The epicarp has skin glands that give off its aromatic
2.Size and length of citrus trees.
Lime trees can have an average height of 14ft, but they can grow up to 20ft in size; factors that determine the height or size of a citrus plant may include soil, temperature, and pots used in planting.
The leaves of the lime Tree are about 2_3 inches in size. In addition to that, the branches have sharp spines that are 1 inch in size.
Lemon Tree also grows to an average height of 20ft under optimal temperature but can grow as much as 45ft Some varieties may include erna, eureka, etc.
Lime leaves are either small or large and oblong in appearance; they are green irregularly branched elliptical leaves with small round teeth. Lime leaves produce small white flowers
Lemon leaves are medium in size, have a taper, and ovate nonstem ends with finely toothed edges that are slightly ripped. They have a smooth to matte finish on the leaves. Lemon leaves are red when they first appear and turn green when they get mature.
4. Fruit Colour
Mature Lime citrus fruits can have a deep green colour, yellow and pale green, or pale yellow shade when they ripen. They are spherical in appearance but sometimes can be oval.in shape with a diameter of about 1-1.5 inches.
Mature lemon fruits appear green when unripe and change to a bright yellow when they ripen. They are oval-shaped with a small bulge protruding and are 2-3 Inches in size.
5. Temperate Region
Lime Trees find it very difficult to cope in cold climates; they need full sun to develop well because it is a succulent plants. When the temperature drops below 29 degrees, it might affect the plant. It gets worse during winter as the plant will become damaged and might die.
Lemon trees thrive in warmer temperatures and can survive cold temperatures if the plants are grown in pots and kept indoors. Lemon trees and fruits will die if kept under shade for more than 5 months.
Are Lemon Or Lime Trees Easier To Grow?
Lemon and lime are perennial plants that come back every year when they have grown to full maturity. It takes about 6 years for lemons to reach full maturity and production of fruit, while it takes about 8 years for lime to reach full maturity and production.
Lemons have to be grown in a warm climate if you want the citrus tree to reach full maturity. Bear in mind that very cold temperatures will prevent lemon and lime citrus trees from growing to their full potential. Lemon and lime citrus are very easy to grow in your garden or outdoor places if you are very patient.
How To Identify A Lime Tree
It is easy to know a lime tree if you take note of its characteristics and notable features below.
- Lime citrus trees are small Evergreen plants with sharp spines and thin branches
- Lime trees are oval in shape and small in size, usually about 7- 14 feet in height. Lime fruits are about 1.5 inches in size too, their fruits have an acidic taste with thin skin when peeled.
- They produce white flowers that cluster around together, sometimes the flowers can have purple pigmentation on the white colour.
Do Lemon And Lime Come From The Same Tree?
Although they have similar features, they are two different species of plants and grow naturally like other plants on separate trees. In rare cases though, they can be crosslinked and refined to grow on the same plant since they are both citrus fruits.
How To Tell The Difference Between Lemon And Orange Citrus Trees
Orange trees are slightly bigger than lemon trees in appearance, they can grow as tall as 40ft in size, their leaves are dark green and 3 inches long. Like their name, they are bright orange, yellow and also green when unripe. Oranges are used as fruits for consumption while companies make use of the peels or skin.
Lemon leaves are medium in size, have a taper and ovate non-stem ends with finely toothed edges that are slightly ripped. lemon fruits appear green when unripe and change to a bright yellow when they ripen.
They are oval-shaped with a small bulge protruding and are 2-3 Inches in size. Lemon Tree also grows to an average height of 20ft under optimal temperature but can grow as much as 45ft.
In conclusion, lemon and lime are both citrus fruits and they share similar properties, knowing the difference will make it easier when buying or even planting these crops when there is a need for these citrus fruits.