Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Red Finger Lime - Australian native

During my research on citrus I came across the finger lime plant which I had not heard of before. The finger lime or Citrus Australasica (Microcitrus Australasica) is native to Australia and found wild as an under-storey shrub in the Australian rainforests of Queensland and northern New South Wales. It grows naturally in heavy shade in areas of high rainfall, but also appears at the edge of cleared forest where there is more sunlight.
The fruit is cylindrical, up to 12cms long and can be green, yellow, red, purple or black when ripe. The pulp is usually greenish yellow. There is also a naturally occurring pink-red fleshed form of finger lime known as Citrus australasica var. sanguinea. The pulp of the fruit is unique with separate juice vesicles that resemble caviar. The individual juice vesicles (sometimes referred to as crystals) are compressed inside the fruit and burst out when the fruit is opened. Great for gourmet foods, dressings, salads and cocktails and very sought after by gourmet restauranteurs ...  the Caviar Lime.

During a recent family holiday to the Gold Coast it was the perfect time to search for a Finger Lime tree. A few family members liked the markets so off we went to several Gold Coast markets during the week. At our 3rd market, I finally found the finger lime plant, it was a grafted red finger lime (probably Citrus Australasica Sanguinea) Still a young plant and small enough that I could take it back to Melbourne with me. The seller told me it might fruit maybe in a year's time, maybe two years. I'll wait for the first flowers to see if they are 3 petals or 5 petals. Most finger limes are 3 petals and the red fleshed finger lime is suppose to have 5 petals on their flowers.

Below are some pictures of the my red finger lime. Hoping it will survive in Melbourne and not die of frost. I've brought it indoors on colder nights. The plant has loss quite a fair bit of leaves since being moved from the Gold Coast to its new home. Probably due to all stress and change in environment.

I've put in a new plastic self watering pot from Bunnings and potting mix which were for roses. It had blood and bone mixed in. Being careful not to fertilize it yet till spring which is round the corner.

Grafted Red Finger Lime - Aug 2012

Grafted Red Finger Lime - Aug 2012

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