Acid lime is one of the four commercially important citrus fruits grown in India among citrus species which are grown commercially. India ranks fifth among major lime and lemon-producing countries in the world. India is perhaps the largest producer of acid lime in the world. It is cultivated in almost all the states, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Bihar, and Himachal Pradesh being major producing states. There are two important species of lime namely, Citrus aurantifolia Swingle and of Citrus latifolia Tanaka.
Acid lime trees are small, bushy with small but sharp spines. Leaves and small with narrowly winged petioles. Flowers and fruits are small. Flowers are borne on two types of shoots, one with leaves and the other without leaves. Leafy inflorescences are borne on new wood, while leafless inflorescences are borne on old wood. Leafy inflorescences are more productive than leafless inflorescence, thus the presence of leaves is essential for production. Staminate and hermaphrodite flowers are produced on the same tree with varying intensities. Kagzi lime produces more hermaphrodite flowers than Tahiti Lime. The percentage of perfect flowers are higher because of mild season in the beginning of flowering and gradually decreases as the season advances. Fruits are round to oval. Fruits mature irregularly throughout the year, greenish yellow in colour and juice is highly acidic. Seeds are small, smooth and cotyledons whitish.
Acid lime is appreciable not only for its beautiful appearance and pleasing flavour but also for its excellent fruit qualities. Limes are used as fresh fruit, preparation of pickles and beverages. Lime is a good source of vitamin C and has a good antioxidant property.
Acid lime( Citrus aurantifolia Swingle) fruit and plant in foothills of Arunachal Pradesh
Bearing of acid lime in foothills of Arunachal Pradesh
Acid lime cultivation in Arunachal Pradesh
Owing to its refreshing, nutritional, medicinal properties and industrial importance acid lime is gaining popularity across the country. Though it is generally grown under both tropical and subtropical climatic condition, however, acid lime is not grown like lemon or other citrus fruits in the North Eastern Region as a whole.
Acid lime is new crop to Arunachal Pradesh. However, Arunachal has a wide climatic variation right from tropical climate to sub tropical and then temperate to alpine. Its unique physio-geographical positions, topography and high degree of precipitation are the important factors for its enormous biological diversity. Arunachal Pradesh is situated between latitude of 26° 30’ to 29° 28’ North and longitude of 91° 25’ to 97° 24’ East. Though, most of the citrus species are grown in Arunachal Pradesh, acid lime is rarely cultivated.
To explore the performance of this new crop, about 100 plants of Acid lime (Citrus aurantifolia Swingle) variety PKM-1 were planted during 2010 in the fruit block of the College of Horticulture and Forestry, Pasighat and its flowering behavior and growth was observed. It is observed that under Pasighat condition which is a foothill situation of Arunachal Pradesh, the crop is performing well. Therefore, its cultivation can be extended to other areas of similar situation. The other important acid lime varieties are Kagzi lime, Pramalini, Vikram, Chakradhar, PKM - 1, Selection - 49, Seedless lime, Sai Sharbati, Abhayapuri Kagzi lime, Tahiti lime, etc.
Acid lime adapts well to a variety of soil. It grows fairly well in black and light loamy soil. A loamy soil of uniform texture with a depth of 2-2.5m, well-drained and rich in organic matter and fertility is ideal for lime. A well- drained soil with a pH of 6.5-7.0 is ideal for better growth and yield. Alkaline soils and soils high in lime content are not suitable, since such soils may lead to deficiencies of micro nutrients. The acid lime blooms throughout the year but the main blooming period is December – February with lean period of June to August under Pasighat condition with an average yield of 150 fruits per plant.
Problems in acid lime cultivation
- Non-availability of genuine planting material.
- There is lot of variability with respect to growth and productivity as well as quality as most of the Kagzi limes are grown through seedling.
- There is a need to identify the critical stage of growth and application of water and nutrient according to the growth stages.
- Citrus canker (Xanthomonas axonopodis cv. Citri), dieback and leaf miner (Phyllocnistis citrella) are the major constraints in the production and quality of acid lime.
Field view of acid lone in CHF, Pasighat
Flowering behaviour of Acid lime
Mulching in acid lime
The popularity of acid lime can be increased for which the following points are very important.
- Good quality planting materials are required in abundance to meet the needs.
- There is need for develop Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) for acid lime
- Use of VAM and other bio- fertilizers need to be standardized under various agro-climatic conditions.
- Collective harvesting, grading and packing units as well as small scale processing industries under FPO’s (Farmers Producers Organization) need to be established for better returns to farmers.