Botanical Name: Citrus x limonia ‘Osbeck’
Common Names: Rangpur Lime, Rangpur, Mandarin Lime, Canton Lemon, Lemandarin
The Rangpur Lime is an unusual citrus that is often mistaken for a mandarin but is actually a mandarin-lemon cross. It’s an attractive, fast-growing, broad-leafed, evergreen tree that is more cold tolerant than true limes. The tree growth is very vigorous, and it’s sometimes used as a rootstock because of this strong growing trait. Branches are slender and thorny and have a drooping habit. New growth is lightly purple-tinted, and the fragrant flowers are small with purple-blushed buds and petals. The fruit is bright orange and abundant and looks similar to small mandarins rather than limes. Each fruit has between 6-18 small cream-green seeds.
Rangpur Limes are vigorous, productive, medium-sized, spreading trees grow to 4.5 m high and 3 m wide. They grow best in full sun with some seasonal watering during dry periods. Fruit is produced from late autumn through to spring. It can be grown in the ground in well-drained soil with protection from severe frosts and is also suitable for large pots. It is self-fertile and doesn’t need a pollinator.
The Rangpur Lime tree is normally propagated by seed. It can also be grafted, and most Rangpur Limes sold in nurseries are grafted onto rootstock that suits the growing conditions.
Rangpur Limes are prized for their tangy, smoky flavour, and both the zest and juice are used for sweet and savoury dishes. The peel exudes a fresh lime fragrance and the flesh is tart and juicy and an ideal substitute for limes or lemons. Small, whole fruits are sometimes candied or pickled, and the leaves are highly-scented and can also be used in cooking.
The fruit is easily peeled and can be broken into 8-10 segments like a mandarin, but it has a distinct strong acidic lime flavour with a deeply floral, honeysuckle aroma. Each fruit will provide about 2 tablespoons of juice which can be used to make curds and tarts or added to cocktails with gin. Delicious jams and marmalades can be made using the fruit and juice, and syrups can be incorporated into sparkling water and iced tea or cooked into curds and baked goods such as Key Lime pie, cheesecake, and crème brûlée.
In savoury dishes, Rangpur Limes can be blended into hummus, sauces such as hollandaise, juiced for ceviche, and added to guacamole. They can also be juiced and used as a marinade or salt-preserved. Rangpur Limes pair well with Honey, Juniper Berry, Bay leaves, Lavender, Rosemary, and proteins such as pork, poultry, and seafood.
The limes are best used fresh from the tree but will keep for one week when stored at room temperature and for 2-4 weeks when stored in the refrigerator.
Rangpur Limes are an excellent source of vitamin C and also contain calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.
The trees are highly ornamental and are often planted to showcase their beautiful, highly scented flowers.