Australian Bushfoods magazine

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This month's plant is brought to you by the flavour 'yummmm'!

Citrus glauca variously called "Australian Desert Lime", "Desert Lemon", "Native Kumquat" and "Limebush". It has a widespread occurrence on the rangeland interior of NSW and southern Qld, as well as a totally disjunctive occurrence near Carrieton in SA. 

General Description:

Citrus glauca is a medium shrub or small tree generally 3-7 metres in height bearing green to yellow coloured round fruit around the size of a marble. It is confined to inland areas, usually on heavy, clay soils. The foliage is greenish-grey, with oblong leaves up to 50mm long by 5 mm wide. The stems are spiny with irregularly spaced thorns. Flowers are 10 mm across, white or greenish in colour and appear in late winter and spring. The flowers are followed by greenish/yellow fruits which are globular in shape and about 15 mm diameter. The fruits are edible and have a strong citrus flavour which is widely sought by "bush tucker" enthusiasts.

Because of its habitat, C glauca is of interest as a grafting rootstock to possibly extend the range of commercial citrus crops. There is also potential for breeding to develop new citrus varieties.

Desert lime is not widely cultivated as it is generally unsuited to the wetter climates of the major population centres. It can be cultivated successfully in inland areas. The plant has a suckering habit which may need to be controlled in cultivation.

Propagation is possible from seed but cuttings may be slow to strike. Grafting or budding onto other citrus stocks has apparently been successful.

(The following from the CSIRO Native foods site):

Current Retail Product Categories:

Jams & conserves, dipping sauces, simmer sauces.

Food Quality & Safety Issues:

Currently there is no industry-wide product description or quality standards developed or published for this crop, though individual market channel groups are likely to be working to in-house standards
Crop collection, production and handling systems will eventually require the implementation of HACCP-based food safety systems. Wild harvested sources may have difficulty in some areas of these systems, such as product traceability requirements.

Wild Harvest/Cultivated Supplies:

Most fruit is still sourced from the wild, although commercial cultivation is now in progress.

Wild Harvest Locations:

Southwest Qld, northwest NSW (Desert Lime). North coast NSW, southern Qld (Round & Finger Limes).

Cultivation Locations:

Riverland, South Australia, Roma Qld (Desert Lime). North coast NSW, southern Qld (Round & Finger Limes).

Approx Wholesale ('Farm Gate') Prices:

Desert Lime: whole frozen $13/kg.
Blood Lime: whole frozen $24/kg.
Finger Lime: whole, frozen first grade $30 60/kg, 2nd grade $12-15/kg.
Sunrise Lime: whol, frozen $10/kg

Current Volumes Traded:

Desert Limes: In the order of 10-15 tonnes per annum.
Round & Finger Limes: In the order of 1-3 tonnes per annum.

 

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