Kaffir lime

From Gardenology.org - Plant Encyclopedia and Gardening wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Citrus x hystrix
Fossil range: {{{fossil_range}}}
Citrus hystrix on sale
Citrus hystrix on sale
Plant Info
Common name(s): {{{common_names}}}
Growth habit: {{{growth_habit}}}
Height: {{{high}}}
Width: {{{wide}}}
Lifespan: {{{lifespan}}}
Exposure: {{{exposure}}}
Water: {{{water}}}
Features: {{{features}}}
Poisonous: {{{poisonous}}}
Hardiness: {{{hardiness}}}
USDA Zones: {{{usda_zones}}}
Sunset Zones: {{{sunset_zones}}}
Scientific classification
Domain: {{{domain}}}
Superkingdom: {{{superregnum}}}
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: {{{subregnum}}}
Superdivision: {{{superdivisio}}}
Superphylum: {{{superphylum}}}
Division: Magnoliophyta
Phylum: {{{phylum}}}
Subdivision: {{{subdivisio}}}
Subphylum: {{{subphylum}}}
Infraphylum: {{{infraphylum}}}
Microphylum: {{{microphylum}}}
Nanophylum: {{{nanophylum}}}
Superclass: {{{superclassis}}}
Class: Magnoliopsida
Sublass: Rosidae
Infraclass: {{{infraclassis}}}
Superorder: {{{superordo}}}
Order: Sapindales
Suborder: {{{subordo}}}
Infraorder: {{{infraordo}}}
Superfamily: {{{superfamilia}}}
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily: {{{subfamilia}}}
Supertribe: {{{supertribus}}}
Tribe: {{{tribus}}}
Subtribe: {{{subtribus}}}
Genus: Citrus
Subgenus: {{{subgenus}}}
Section: {{{sectio}}}
Series: {{{series}}}
Species: C. x
Subspecies: {{{subspecies}}}
Binomial name
Citrus x hystrix
Trinomial name
Type Species

The Kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix DC., Rutaceae), also known as kieffer lime, makrut, or magrood, is native to Indonesia but widely grown worldwide as a backyard shrub.

Other names for Citrus x hystrix:

  • Burma: shauk-nu, shauk-waing
  • Cambodia: krauch soeuch
  • China: fatt-fung-kam
  • Malaysia: limau purut
  • Indonesia: jeruk purut, jeruik limo, jeruk sambal
  • Philippines: swangi
  • Sri Lanka: kahpiri dehi, odu dehi, kudala-dehi
  • Thailand: makrut, som makrut

A very thorny bush with aromatic leaves. The oil from the rind of the rough, bumpy fruit has strong insecticidal properties. Well suited to container growing. The green lime fruits are distinguished by their bumpy exterior and their small size (approx. 4 cm wide), and the hourglass-shaped leaves (actually, the leaf and the leaf-shaped stem or phyllode) are widely used in Cambodian, Thai, and Lao Cuisine.

Citrus x hystrix leaves are also popular in Cambodia and Indonesian (especially, Balinese and Javanese, but less so in Vietnam. Malay, and Burmese. In Indonesian cuisine itself, kaffir lime leaves use along with Indonesian bay leaf) for chicken and fish.

The leaves can be used fresh or dried, and can be stored frozen.

Although the most common product of the Citrus x hystrix tree is its leaves (which impart a sharp lime/neroli flavour to Cambodian base paste known as "Krueng", Thai dishes such as tom yum, and to Indonesian food such as sayur assam - literally sour vegetables), the juice and rinds of the small, dark green gnarled fruit (known as jeruk obat - literally medicine citrus) are used in traditional Indonesian medicine.

As for the zest, it is widely used in creole cuisine and to impart flavor to "arranged" rums in the Réunion island and Madagascar.

For other types of lime, see lime (fruit).


The Oxford Companion to Food (ISBN 0-19-211579-0) recommends that the name kaffir lime should be avoided in favor of makrut lime because Kaffir is an offensive term in some cultures, and also has no clear reason for being attached to this plant. However, kaffir lime appears to be much more common.

Citrus hystrix fruit (left), used in Southeast asian cooking, with galangal root.
Kaffir lime leaves are also a popular ingredient in South East Asian cooking, such as Indonesian, and Thai.


blog comments powered by Disqus
Personal tools
Bookmark and Share