Wild Lime

Wild Lime (Zanthoxylum fagara), also called lime prickly-ash, is a species of flowering tree in the citrus family. It is native to southern Florida and Texas as well as Mexico, Central America, Caribbean islands, and South America (as far south as Paraguay.)

It is drought tolerant and grows well in full sun, but can also live in shaded understory.

Wild lime grows as a shrub or small tree to a height of 23 feet. As shown in the second photograph, the trunk is rough with grayish-brown bark. Branches are irregularly shaped and have inversely hooked thorns.

The third photograph shows its pinnate leaves.

Fruits are very small, as shown in the photograph below.

When crushed, the leaves and bark are used to make a bitter-tasting condiment.

Wild lime provides important food and cover for wildlife. Leaves are the host food for many caterpillars, including the Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes).


© Photographs and text by Susan Leach Snyder (Conservancy of Southwest Florida Volunteer).

Please report errors to Susan Snyder @ ssnyder2@columbus.rr.com

LINKS:

Hammock Trail Guide

Conservancy of Southwest Florida Home Page