October 25, 2011

The 'Pop Rocks' of Citrus- Australian Finger Limes


These are so cool, that I can hardly control my enthusiasm. They look like little gherkins, but once you cut these limes open, the are pure citrus caviar. What makes the Australian Finger Lime so delightful is the juicy vesicles that pop in your mouth like caviar ( well, let'e say more like Tobiko). I first saw Australian Finger Limes on an episode of Martha Stewart Living where Byron Martin, owner of our favorite nursery - Logee's in Danielson, CT was showing Martha some of the new citrus varieties that he was offering. He broke one open to show the tiny fruits magic - pearlescent sections of citrusy goodness. They are used in fancy treats,  and of course in the coolest cocktails money can buy.

Australia Finger Limes are rare, at least in North America, even in California and Florida, they are the rarest and most sought-after citrus since bud wood has only recently been allowed to be imported from  Australia, where the lime is one of about a half-dozen Austrolasian limes. According to the Los Angeles Times, some growers are beginning to grow these unique limes, and some are even starting to show up at the Santa Monica farmers market.

We rushed out to get some, only to find that they plants were small grafts, so we knew that we had to wait a few years for our shrubs to get large enough to bear fruit. If you are not familiar with this very special lime, the reason that it is so popular is because of the The lime is popular in hip New York City cocktail bars, and with upscale caterers who find the fruits novelty irresistible.

But this is a growable plant, especially in the house. Mine suffer a bit if the greenhouse gets too cold in the winter, ( I've killed two until I learned that the younger trees prefer warmer temperatures). My larger shrubs survive just fine with the night-time temperatures that often drop below 40 degrees F. in the winter under glass, but on a cool, sunny windowsill, you could be harvesting Australian Finger Limes in a year or two. The plant grows bushy, more like a shrub than a small tree, and like most citrus, it produces fragrant flowers. Its only drawback would be the thorns, but they are tiny and I feel, add to the charm of the plant.


They are available from Logees Nursery in the USA or from Daley's Fruit Tree Nursery in Australia ( only for shipments within Australia). The photo below is from Daley's, showing the various varieties and colors available.


  1. Another citrus that becoming my favorite as well. I only have one small tree at the moment.

  2. Viewing your photo of the mini Australian lime made my mouth water.

    I have a friend living in New Zealand and she told me of a new lime tree she had recently planted which produces miniature limes. She expressed enthusiasm but her language in describing the fruit was not nearly as descript as yours and, of course, she did not produce photos. So, I’m glad you filled that gap and I now know what she was talking about.

    I wonder how it would fare in Southern California?

  3. The latest issue of Saveur magazine has a short article about finger limes, I can't wait to try one!

  4. I have three of these in my backyard in Salinas. Got some great results this year!

  5. I just got one over the weekend that had fruit on it for $78 at the Home Depot. The cashier told me you can have the store custom order it. First time I ever saw one and pick it up right away since have been reading about this special lime.

  6. I bought one in Holland this year, and just harvested the first of 4 fruits. Placed a picture on instagram : https://www.instagram.com/p/BMObX6LgsUu/?taken-by=tinusdepinus .
    Now I will have to take the plant trough the winter, see if this works.


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