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 commercial production together. If that’s you, please get in touch with the contact us page.