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Author Topic: Might Kaffir Lime be hardier than we think?  (Read 542 times)

SoCal2warm

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Might Kaffir Lime be hardier than we think?
« on: February 01, 2019, 04:30:59 PM »
There are a lot of people in colder climates who would like to grow a lime tree. Unfortunately for them, and something almost none of them realize, limes are the very least hardy out of all the citrus groups commonly sold in a supermarket. If you wanted to try pushing the boundaries and see if a citrus tree might be able to survive in your marginal climate, a lime tree would be the very last thing you'd want to try.

But that being said, Kaffir lime is not actually a true lime.
Regular limes descend from an ancestor called Citrus micrantha, which has very little tolerance to cold. Kaffir limes, on the other hand, descend from a different ancestral species, Khasi papeda (Citrus latipes ) which grows a bit further inland at a bit higher elevation.


Quote
This citrus species, C. latipes (Swingle) Yu. Tanaka is locally called as Soh Kymphor by the Khasi tribe of Meghalaya. This fruit is bitter sour in taste and commonly consumed raw. But, in a few local Khasi villages of Laitjem and Sadew, this fruit is eaten between meals, usually blended with finely cut tender leaves of mustard or radish with chillies, sugar and salt to taste.
Here are a few traditional uses of this plant:
The leaves of this citrus plant are boiled in water until the water turns green. Then this water is used for bathing, to relieve body aches, fever, common cold and headache.
The citrus fruit is peeled and boiled in water, then it is cooled and strained using muslin cloth and stored. This decoction is used by diluting it with water and consumed orally to cure stomach disorders, constipation and skin problems. It is also applied to heal chapped and dry skin.
The juice of the fruit is mixed with mustard oil and used as balm on the forehead and the nose during a fever or cold, to lower the body temperature. It also acts as an antiseptic when applied to cuts and wounds. 
https://explorers.zizira.com/wild-citrus-fruits-meghalaya-uses/

If you look at the leaves of Kaffir lime, they have huge winged petioles that are very reminiscent of Citrus Ichangensis (a notoriously cold hardy species). I don't know but this suggests there might be a distant relation. (Now of course this doesn't prove cold hardiness. Citrus micrantha itself also has fairly large winged petioles and is the last thing from cold hardy.)
(Note: I don't believe the C. latipes in the UCR collection is fully representative of the species in the wild, in terms of leaf shape)

This is a botanical drawing of Kaffir lime, note the leaf shape:


[another little thing I'll point out about the difference between C. micrantha and C. latipes is that C. micrantha has off the charts levels of furanocoumarins, which no doubt explains why lime juice is so photosensitizing; whereas Kaffir lime has only extremely low levels by comparison, based on this one fact alone one could infer different ancestry]

I've seen various different sources, some listing Kaffir lime as zone 10 (like most ordinary citrus) and some indicating it can survive down to zone 9.
The very fact it could be grown in zone 9 would indicate it is much hardier than ordinary limes.

Kaffir lime is rather a less common variety, so I'd imagine there hasn't been a lot of experimentation investigating whether it can survive in marginal climates. Probably most everyone just assumes it is going to be like any other ordinary citrus.

I suspect however that Kaffir lime might have a similar level of cold hardiness to Meyer lemon.
(And if that's the case there is a possibility it might be able to survive outside in urban areas of Vancouver, B.C., but I'm getting ahead of myself)

This entire thread is very speculative.


A comment left in a discussion about Kaffir lime:
________________________________________________
December 21, 2010, jbwaters from Dallas, TX wrote:

I love this plant. I have had one in a pot for about 12 years now and it is still thriving. Mine fruits and I have been extremely successful with starting new ones from seeds -- i plant them directly from the fruit into moist soil -- about 95% sprouted and are either in the ground or given as gifts. In the summer, I have mine in dappled to direct sun until late afternoon and have positioned it so that I can see the Giant Swallowtails laying their eggs on it from my kitchen window-- their ceterpillars look like bird droppings. My tree is easily big enough to share with them. It doesn't seems to like our Texas sun as much as my Satsuma Orange does.

And despite the fact that the kaffir lime shouldn't survive freezing temps, I planted one in a slightly protected area near my house and despite records snows in Dallas, TX last year (12 inches over night that lasted with well below freezing temps for several days), the kaffir lime tree came back! They got about 2 feet tall with very little water or attention. So this year I planted more in the ground to see how they would do. My fruiting tree stays in the pot though as she is a rare thing to find and stays in the greenhouse once we hit 40 degrees until we are reliably in the 50s.
________________________________________________
https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/67460/#b


The leaves of Kaffir lime are very useful for cooking with in Southeast Asian cuisine, used much the same way that bay leaves are.
(Unlike the leaves of other citrus, kaffir lime leaves are very mild and don't have the characteristic harsh astringency of other citrus leaves, which is probably reflective of its papeda ancestry)
The fruits, on the other hand, are much lower quality than normal limes, though not terrible (they just have somewhat less of the characteristic lime flavor, and a very slight amount of bitterness), but the fruits are sometimes valued for the zest that comes from the rinds. The zest is better than that which would come from regular limes.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 04:46:27 PM by SoCal2warm »

lebmung

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Re: Might Kaffir Lime be hardier than we think?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2019, 05:47:09 PM »
I am an avid grower of Kaffir lime. Sometimes sell the leaves to restaurants. In Thailand every backyard has kaffir lime.
I can confirm you that it is a strong plant, hardy and it takes -3C. I have grown many varieties over the years experimenting with this plant.
From 50 seedlings planted 5 years ago I selected one best variety and exposed it to cold over the years. The plants grown from seeds show the highest hardiness, but the root system is prone to root rot in wet winters. This plant that I selected takes cold conditions very well, not dropping leaves or anything. Exposed in winter to - 1C to 5 C in a greenhouse.
The grafted plants all died in the same conditions.

Those grafted on poncirus trifoliata don't grow so well, growth is very slow.
What they use in Thailand as a rootstock, it seems to be ichang papeda. It grows fast and vigorous. I took a rootstock from there and made some experiments. Ichang papeda is a very strong plant, it takes cold very easy, the rootstock just goes dormant. So it seems to be the most suitable rootstock for kaffir lime. Of course nurseries don't have this in Europe or US.

SoCal2warm

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Re: Might Kaffir Lime be hardier than we think?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2019, 07:01:49 PM »
Very interesting, lebmung, and that would seem to make sense.

Probably what kaffir lime has most going for it is its vigorous growth, since it's basically a hybrid of sour orange with C. latipes.
C. ichangensesis must be more closely related to C. latipes, and thus makes a better rootstock for this variety, allowing it to retain its vigorous growth behavior. And that, I suspect, vigorous growth, is what enables it to bounce back from cold damage.
It's a similar situation for Yuzu, I believe. However, kaffir lime isn't super cold-hardy, I don't think. Maybe more like Meyer lemon.

I have a few seedlings going and will be making some experiments.

Ilya11

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Re: Might Kaffir Lime be hardier than we think?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2019, 12:25:00 PM »
Probably what kaffir lime has most going for it is its vigorous growth, since it's basically a hybrid of sour orange with C. latipes.
How  are you able to generate  such false statements?
Hystrix has nothing to do with sour orange.
It is a species apart with close relation to micrantha.
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                       Ilya

SoCal2warm

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Re: Might Kaffir Lime be hardier than we think?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2019, 03:44:30 PM »
Hystrix has nothing to do with sour orange.
It is a species apart with close relation to micrantha.
I believe C. hystrix originated from hybridization between C. latipes and some sort of sour orange (likely within the C. aurantium group).


It is a species apart with close relation to micrantha.
You are in error. Regular limes have close relation to micrantha. Kaffir lime is in a different group from regular limes.

(C. micrantha and C. latipes though are closely related species, but they are original separate species)


This is just from my memory, and I can't seem to find a source to substantiate this right now.
I suppose it could be possible I am wrong, and not remembering correctly.

I am able to find the following sources of evidence:

entry for C. latipes [Khasi papeda]
A plant much similar to C. hystrix in the habit, leaf, floral and fruit characters.
There are no striking differences, except that C. latipes has comparatively smaller leaves and fruits, and more number of seeds (30-60 per fruit) than in C. hystrix.
C. latipes is native to North East India (Meghalaya: Khasi and Garo Hills; Nagaland) and Northern Myanmar.

Indian Ethnobotany: Emerging Trends,  Jain, A. K., p257


I think measured furanocoumarin levels also support the idea that C. hystrix likely did not descend from C. micrantha.

Here you can see in this study, that looked at different types of furanocoumarin levels, that Kaffir lime (listed as its synonym Rangpur lime) did not even group with the C. micrantha admixture group including regular limes:
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0142757&type=printable
(The Distribution of Coumarins and Furanocoumarins in Citrus Species Closely Matches Citrus Phylogeny and Reflects the Organization of Biosynthetic Pathways, Audray Dugrand-Judek)

The levels in both Khasi papeda and Rangpur lime are extremely low, while the levels in other limes are very high, and the levels in C. micrantha are extremely high, higher than any other citrus by a large margin.

The level of cold hardiness also suggests Kaffir lime has more in common with C. latipes than C. micrantha.


However, I am also looking at another study which seems to group C. hystrix first closest to C. macroptera, then to C. micrantha, and then to C. latipes, in that order.
( Nicolosi E., Deng Z., Gentile A., La Malfa S., Continella G., Tribulato E. Citrus phylogeny and genetic origin of important species as investigated by molecular markers. Theor Appl Genet. 2000;100:1155–1166. )

cpDNA seems to inexplicably group C. latipes much closer to traditional citrus so it's possible there could have been introgression into the C. latipes gene pool, which could explain why it doesn't group closer, but maybe that theory is a stretch of an explanation.
(What I mean is maybe C. hystrix descended from a more pure C. latipes that existed in the past, and the C. latipes accession that exists today are not as pure)


If you look in the graph in Figure 3 of this study you can see that, unlike other limes, Rangpur lime does not seem to have any relation to C. micrantha.
Phylogenetic origin of limes and lemons revealed by cytoplasmic and nuclear markers, Franck Curk Frédérique Ollitrault Andres Garcia-Lor François Luro Luis Navarro Patrick Ollitrault, Annals of Botany, Volume 117, Issue 4, 1 April 2016, Pages 565–583
(it's the smaller bar graph in the middle, fourth from last)

The Encyclopedia Britannica has this entry:
"The mandarin lime, also known as the Rangpur lime (C. ×limonia), is thought to be a lemon–mandarin orange hybrid..."
https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:QhSA4vLf7RUJ:https://www.britannica.com/plant/lime+&cd=19&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 05:20:07 PM by SoCal2warm »

Ilya11

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Re: Might Kaffir Lime be hardier than we think?
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2019, 06:28:03 PM »
Hystrix has nothing to do with sour orange.
It is a species apart with close relation to micrantha.
I believe C. hystrix originated from hybridization between C. latipes and some sort of sour orange (likely within the C. aurantium group).


It is a species apart with close relation to micrantha.
You are in error. Regular limes have close relation to micrantha. Kaffir lime is in a different group from regular limes.

(C. micrantha and C. latipes though are closely related species, but they are original separate species)


This is just from my memory, and I can't seem to find a source to substantiate this right now.
I suppose it could be possible I am wrong, and not remembering correctly.

I am able to find the following sources of evidence:

entry for C. latipes [Khasi papeda]
A plant much similar to C. hystrix in the habit, leaf, floral and fruit characters.
There are no striking differences, except that C. latipes has comparatively smaller leaves and fruits, and more number of seeds (30-60 per fruit) than in C. hystrix.
C. latipes is native to North East India (Meghalaya: Khasi and Garo Hills; Nagaland) and Northern Myanmar.

Indian Ethnobotany: Emerging Trends,  Jain, A. K., p257


I think measured furanocoumarin levels also support the idea that C. hystrix likely did not descend from C. micrantha.

Here you can see in this study, that looked at different types of furanocoumarin levels, that Kaffir lime (listed as its synonym Rangpur lime) did not even group with the C. micrantha admixture group including regular limes:
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0142757&type=printable
(The Distribution of Coumarins and Furanocoumarins in Citrus Species Closely Matches Citrus Phylogeny and Reflects the Organization of Biosynthetic Pathways, Audray Dugrand-Judek)

The levels in both Khasi papeda and Rangpur lime are extremely low, while the levels in other limes are very high, and the levels in C. micrantha are extremely high, higher than any other citrus by a large margin.

The level of cold hardiness also suggests Kaffir lime has more in common with C. latipes than C. micrantha.


However, I am also looking at another study which seems to group C. hystrix first closest to C. macroptera, then to C. micrantha, and then to C. latipes, in that order.
( Nicolosi E., Deng Z., Gentile A., La Malfa S., Continella G., Tribulato E. Citrus phylogeny and genetic origin of important species as investigated by molecular markers. Theor Appl Genet. 2000;100:1155–1166. )

cpDNA seems to inexplicably group C. latipes much closer to traditional citrus so it's possible there could have been introgression into the C. latipes gene pool, which could explain why it doesn't group closer, but maybe that theory is a stretch of an explanation.
(What I mean is maybe C. hystrix descended from a more pure C. latipes that existed in the past, and the C. latipes accession that exists today are not as pure)


If you look in the graph in Figure 3 of this study you can see that, unlike other limes, Rangpur lime does not seem to have any relation to C. micrantha.
Phylogenetic origin of limes and lemons revealed by cytoplasmic and nuclear markers, Franck Curk Frédérique Ollitrault Andres Garcia-Lor François Luro Luis Navarro Patrick Ollitrault, Annals of Botany, Volume 117, Issue 4, 1 April 2016, Pages 565–583
(it's the smaller bar graph in the middle, fourth from last)

The Encyclopedia Britannica has this entry:
"The mandarin lime, also known as the Rangpur lime (C. ×limonia), is thought to be a lemon–mandarin orange hybrid..."
https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:QhSA4vLf7RUJ:https://www.britannica.com/plant/lime+&cd=19&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

First of all Kaffir lime is Citrus hystrix, and is sometime also called Combava.
It has nothing to do with Rangpur lime (C.limonia). Citrus latipes is another papeda and it is also not a Kaffir lime:
"Citrus latipes, commonly called "Khasi papeda",[2] is sometimes mistakenly identified as Kaffir lime (C. hystrix)" Wikipedia

The levels and signatures of furanocoumarins in micrantha and hystrix are the closest among many citruses studied and they are clustered together:
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0142757
Citrus latipes (Khasi papeda) is completely different in this respect.
 You certainly need to be a true believer to suggest that Kaffir lime is a cross between latipes and soar orange
Best regards,
                       Ilya

SoCal2warm

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Re: Might Kaffir Lime be hardier than we think?
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2019, 07:08:48 PM »
The levels and signatures of furanocoumarins in micrantha and hystrix are the closest among many citruses studied and they are clustered together:
I'm not seeing C. hystrix listed explicitly anywhere on those graphs.


It has nothing to do with Rangpur lime (C.limonia).
It seems I made a careless mistake then.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 07:12:31 PM by SoCal2warm »

Ilya11

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Re: Might Kaffir Lime be hardier than we think?
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2019, 03:45:15 AM »

Second from the left- Combava
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SoCal2warm

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Re: Might Kaffir Lime be hardier than we think?
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2019, 04:36:43 AM »
Second from the left- Combava
I had not realized combava was a synonym for kaffir lime.

I appear to be mistaken about the whole thing then. I acknowledge I probably got confused about the whole thing then.

I would point out though that what is believed to be the native range of C. hystrix overlaps with the other papedas in Northeast India.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2019, 04:40:07 AM by SoCal2warm »

Sylvain

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Re: Might Kaffir Lime be hardier than we think?
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2019, 06:39:43 AM »
> I appear to be mistaken about the whole thing then. I acknowledge I probably got confused about the whole thing then.
As usual.  ;)

 

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