the Finger Lime - formerly Microcitrus australasica
The Finger Lime is 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 10cms long and can be green, yellow, red, purple or black when ripe. The pulp is usually greenish yellow. Red fleshed types also exist and are said to reproduce this trait from seed. These are botanically designated as 'Citrus australasica - sanguinea'. Unlike other citrus the Finger Lime flesh consists of tiny, slightly sticky globules, which often ooze out of fruit when they are cut or become overripe. The individual globules pop open in the mouth to give a burst of acidity. I find it difficult to detect any particularly appealing flavour beyond this acidity, but the fruit are increasingly sought by gourmet restauranteurs.
Seedling about 50cms tall in March 2001, when it was about 6 years old. It first fruited late in 1999 when 4 years old. Some references say fingerlime seedlings can take up to seventeen years to flower and fruit so I was very pleased this plant didn't wait so long!