Wednesday, April 20, 2022

History of lime fruit

The lime plant belongs to the kingdom lantae; phylum Magnoliophyta; class Magnoliopsida; order Sapindales; family Rutaceae; genus Citrus; and species aurantifolia.

Many researchers and historians believe that lime originated from the Asian continent, in Malaysia, from where it was introduced to North Africa and Europe (mainly to Spain) by the Arabs.

“Lime” came from the Old French “limon,” which at that time meant citrus fruit in general, including both lemons and limes. Portuguese, French and Spanish have similar words, and all are probably of Middle Eastern origin (Persian “limun,” Arabic “lima,” etc.).

It is believed that the Europeans were not familiar with this fruit before the crusades, and it was Arab travelers who carried it to North Africa and the Near East. It was then transported from Palestine to Mediterranean Europe.

During the middle of the thirteenth century, it was thought to be cultivated in some parts of Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. Around 1300, Italian medical writer Matteus Silvaticus listed citron, oranges, lemons and limes as the known citrus.

Christopher Columbus took citrus seeds, probably including limes, to the West Indies on his second voyage in 1493, The Spanish introduced lime cultivation to their West Indies colonies in the 16th century. It was commonly being grown in Haiti in 1520. During the Spanish colonization acid limes were acquiring an important place in the national citriculture. The term “citrus” is used to designate several fruits.

In the 19th century, the British navy began to treat scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency, with lime juice and provisioned its ships with citrus from the British colonies of Antigua and Barbados in the West Indies. The use of citrus was initially a closely guarded military secret, as scurvy was a common scourge of various national navies, and the ability to remain at sea for lengthy periods without contracting the disorder.

During 1839 its cultivation started to expand in Florida and it was developed as a common home yard fruit. By 1883 it began to be produced on a small scale commercially in south-central Florida.
History of lime fruit