Lime trees are deciduous trees that are native to the northern hemisphere and belong to the family Tiliaceae. Lime trees produce fruit that is second only to lemons when it comes to flavoring foods and drinks. While more than 100 variations of lime trees exist, the three most commonly known include Key limes, Tahitian limes and Mexican limes.
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Lime trees are shrub-like and characterized by thorny stems, clusters of small, white flowers, green leaves and oval, green fruit.
According to Purdue University, lime trees may grow to be anywhere from 20 to 130 feet tall, depending on the species of the tree and its location (see Resources).
Lime trees are extremely sensitive to cold temperatures, will not survive or bear fruit if the temperature drops too low, and are intolerant of soil flooding.
Lime trees grow best between 30 and 40 degrees latitude on either side of the equator, and the trees should ideally be grown in subtropical climates with temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees F, according to Purdue University (see Resources).
Before Hurricane Andrew hit Florida in 1992, approximately 90 percent of all limes grown in the United States came from Florida. The Food and Agricultural Organization states that 12 percent of all lemons and limes come from Mexico, followed by India, Argentina and Iran.