Seven years ago (2011) I started breeding Citrus with the idea to come up with a novel fruit that could be either grown commercially or by the home gardener as an alternative to the ever popular Fingerlime (Citrus australasica). Having known about the 2 CSIRO produced fruit, Australian Sunrise Lime and Australian Blood Lime, I decided to try breeding a Mandarin with a Fingerlime. The Blood Lime was rumoured to be a similar cross but it was actually with a Rangpur Lime. I still settled on a Mandarin variety as the pistillate or female parent and a Citrus australasica variety called Rainforest Pearl as the staminate or male parent.
Following successful cross pollination, the fruit was harvested, seeds planted and 6 seedlings were raised. The first to flower and set fruit was a tree that was by far the most vigorous, which is the one featured here. A large cylindrical fruit reminiscent of a fingerlime, but one of enormous size. Maturing to a beautiful sun yellow colour, it has a relatively thin rind and many large irregular shaped vesicles inside that are easy squeezed out. The taste is more akin to a lemon on the first tastings with a partial hint of the sweetness you’d expect from a mandarin and which may be more pronounced with post harvest maturity.
While a few comments from state government horticulture employees have been critical of the ‘long neck’ from a commercial fruit point of view, the overall opinion of the general public is that it is a beautiful fruit that would be highly sought after for the home gardener. It also has an appealing sub-acid taste and appearance that would suit the restaurant trade with a new take on the Australian fingerlime. It is in fact more like a ‘Fingerlemon’ in appearance and taste, though not as sharp tasting as a lemon. The easily squeezed out vesicles would be of great value in culinary pursuits.
We’re currently searching for industry collaborators to help us bring the hybrid into production together.