Australian desert Eremocitrus glauca (Lindl.) Swingle
Desert, Desert lime, Lime du désert australien
It’s an Australian endemic citrus originating in southern New Wales and Queensland. Many botanists even believe that it has been growing in Australia for more than 20 million years. Of all the citruses there are, this one has the shortest vegetation period and can withstand temperatures as high as 45°C and as low as -8°C (many authors claim it to be -20°C).
It was discovered in 1846 by Mr. Mitchel in eastern Australia, where it grows erratically and is difficult to describe, as it grows variably in various climates. Citrus glauca also has certain tendency to create a dense, strong, spherical crown with lots of spikes on the branches and it can even produce more trunks from one root system, each of them up to 12m in full maturity. Its gray-green leaves with thick, leathery skin are quite narrow, oblong and smooth. Branches are covered with strong spikes that can occasionally be even 8cm long. It blooms with unique, small, white monoclinous flowers that form an edible, ripe fruit within 8 weeks after successful pollination. Citrus glauca’s fruit is very similar to that of limes, it’s spherical or slightly flattened and has around 2-2,5cm in diameter. Its rind is very thin and usually colored either yellow-green or dark yellow. The pulp is yellow, massive, very juicy, pleasantly sour and sometimes with a hint of bitterness. Each fruit has typically 5 segments and little or no seeds.
Citrus glauca’s fruit is used in marmalades and various drinks, was also bred with numerous other citruses and can be easily grafted on other citruses and also many members of Microcitrus family. It can withstand extremely dry and alkaline soils, even desert sand (it tends to drop leaves in such soils though). Because it starts its vegetation period later than Poncirus, it could be an interesting future rootstock variety. Its new taxonomical name is Citrus glauca (Lindl.) Swingle.