Australian finger Microcitrus australasica (F. Muell.) Swingle Microcitrus
Finger, Finger lime, Lime digité d'Australie, Limetta digitiforme australiana, Queensland Finger, Queensland native
'Australische finger limete' was discovered by F. von Müller in Moreton Bay, Queensland. It grows wildly in rainforests of northern Australia, where it can reach mature height up to 10m. Young seedlings usually form only overhanging branches with thorns, strangely shaped leaves and short internodes. After the slow and strange initial growth they produce one or more new, young, purple-red vertical shoots with plenty of leaves and start growing in a new profile. Mature plants usually form sharp spikes (7-12mm) very close to the leaf buds where they protect and cover the emerging blossoms. This particular variety resembles microcitrus 'Australian round', which grows higher and has less elongated fruit than 'Australische finger limete' (6-10cm long, very narrow, only about 1,5-2,5cm in girth).
Yellow- green pericarp of 'Australische finger limete' is somewhat thick, tough with numerous essential oils sacs, whereas its yellow-green pulp is quite soft and typically divided into 5-8 segments. The juice inside the fruit is under such pressure, that it splashes, when the fruit is cut or otherwise damaged. Flesh also contains lots of acids, almost no sugars and approximately 82 mg/100 g pulp of vitamin C. There are numerous seeds inside the pulp though and probably the most interesting fact about the fruit is the fact, that it is variable, almost no factor (color, amount of segments, seeds…) is constant and varies unpredictably. That’s why a pigmented variety called 'Red pulp finger' is considered to be only a clone.
Australians eat this fruit usually fresh from the tree. For other, numerous advantages this variety has, it’s often used as a rootstock. It thrives in high temperatures, dry air and is suitable for growing indoors and shaping into bonsai. There are also some hybrids such as 'Sydney hybrid wild', a cross with M. australis (A. Cunn. ex Mudie) Swingle.
New taxonomy of citruses says that this variety is to be called Citrus australasica (F. Muell.) Swingle and the other, pigmented variety 'Red pulp finger' is only a clone.