Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Porcupine Orange, Thai Bai Makrut
Citrus hystrix

Family: Rutaceae (roo-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Citrus (SIT-rus) (Info)
Species: hystrix (HIS-triks) (Info)

Synonym:Fortunella sagittifolia
Synonym:Citrus papedia
Synonym:Citrus amblycarpa

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

23 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Unknown - Tell us

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USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 14 photos.
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9 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive BlakeYamsley On May 19, 2011, BlakeYamsley from Chalmette, LA wrote:

I have had my Kaffir Lime for almost 3 months; it was planted on Arbor Day. I put compost and worm castings underneath the potted tree after i removed some of the heavy clay, then I used a cultivator to mix the mediums together. Then, I weeded the area added sand, and tilled again. I cut off the pot, bottom first, and put the 10-gallon tree about 1/3 of the depth of the root mass into the hole. Covering the remainder with the remnants of the surrounding soil and pinebark mulch.
It is very important to fertilize every 3 mos. with established citrus. I got my tree when it was flowering, and i have about 30 or so blossoms, with a handful of developing fruit. I live 5 miles outside of New Orleans, and the tree is happy if you ask me. I just got finished trimming it, and the perfume is intoxicating. Try putting one segment of a leaf in some guacamole! It's a great alternative to cilantro.

Positive jbwaters On Dec 21, 2010, jbwaters from Dallas, TX wrote:

I love this plant. I have had one in a pot for about 12 years now and it is still thriving. Mine fruits and I have been extremely successful with starting new ones from seeds -- i plant them directly from the fruit into moist soil -- about 95% sprouted and are either in the ground or given as gifts. In the summer, I have mine in dappled to direct sun until late afternoon and have positioned it so that I can see the Giant Swallowtails laying their eggs on it from my kitchen window-- their ceterpillars look like bird droppings. My tree is easily big enough to share with them. It doesn't seems to like our Texas sun as much as my Satsuma Orange does.

And despite the fact that the kaffir lime shouldn't survive freezing temps, I planted one in a slightly protected area near my house and despite records snows in Dallas, TX last year (12 inches over night that lasted with well below freezing temps for several days), the kaffir lime tree came back! They got about 2 feet tall with very little water or attention. So this year I planted more in the ground to see how they would do. My fruiting tree stays in the pot though as she is a rare thing to find and stays in the greenhouse once we hit 40 degrees until we are reliably in the 50s.

Am going to try propagating my female by cuttings and maybe layering. Anyone have success doing either of these wiht a kaffir lime?

Positive plantoid On Oct 14, 2009, plantoid from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have a dwarf plant in a 31" diameter x 28" high container. It gets some scales and aphids on the undersides of the newer leaves, not on the tender tips or the older leaves, but on the "teenage" leaves. These bugs don't seem to really hurt the plant yet, but if I really need to I can wipe them out with an oil spray in winter. The plant experienced some leaf drop, probably because of under-watering, but the overall health of the tree did not seem to be affected.

The leaves and the rinds are highly aromatic and are perfectly capable of making a dish taste like citrus furniture polish. Use it very sparingly.

Positive isvasu On Jan 22, 2008, isvasu from Woodbridge, VA wrote:

This plant can grow as high as 20' . It is a must in "Tom Yum" Thai cooking. USDA does not like this plant especially in Florida where orange are grown.

Positive rplingaltx On Jul 9, 2007, rplingaltx from Galveston, TX wrote:

I have had my kaffir lime since last year. I planted it in the ground where it basically gets full sun all day. It was about 2 feet tall when I planted it and it sent up a crazy shoot shortly thereafter that is about 8 feet tall. We had bad leaf miners last year on all of our citrus here in Galveston, but this year so far none to speak of. I love the way the leaves on this tree are so pungent and that it has such vicious thorns. We did have some light freezing weather this past winter, but the lime was unfazed and never lost any leaves. It has not yet bloomed for me, but I am far more interested in the leaves than the fruit. A very good tree!

Neutral fortunatefool On Jul 3, 2007, fortunatefool from New York, NY wrote:

My experience with this plant has been mixed. It thrives with full sunlight and high humidity (approximating its tropical origins). It WILL grow as a container plant at northerly latitudes. However, in the winter time, if placed in a warm (and consequently dry) spot, it becomes extremely susceptible to pests, especially scale and spider mite. Once infested, the plant has to be destroyed to prevent spread. I have found it impossible to eradicate scale and spider mite infestation whose nymphs are microscopic. Once weakened by pests, the plant will experience massive leaf drop and wither away. Consequently quarantine all new plants from prized specimens.

Seedlings and young plants are cold tolerant only to about 45 F or so, so plan appropriately if starting from seed. Small trees (with insulated woody stems) can tolerate colder weather to near or at freezing.

Citrus growing is a well developed industry, and there are many sources of grafted trees. These may be a worthy investment, especially if you want a fruiting tree. But the Wild Lime is mostly grown for its leaves used in Southeast Asian cooking, so the fruit is actually of secondary importance.

Positive go2glenn On Oct 20, 2006, go2glenn from Suwanee, GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have grown a Kaffir Line in a pot on my deck in Georgia (USA) for four years. It is now about 6 feet tall. It comes inside and placed by a sunny window in the winter. Beware of spider mites if you do this! I use the leaves for cooking or give them to my friend's wife who is from Thailand. She also growns a Kaffir Lime. Her tree is also about as tall as mine but a lot more bushy. She fertilizes it with spoiled milk and says it is an old Thai secret. It seems to work nicely!!?? I have observed no blossoms or fruit on either plant as of yet. A source for Kaffir Lime leaves is a must if you are experimenting with Thai recipies. G

Positive Silphion On Apr 12, 2006, Silphion from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I think the real attraction of the Kaffir Lime, for me at least, is the ease with which a small investment (~1.00$) can provide all the Kaffir's anyone could possibly want. Go to a grocery store witha generous produce section (I went to New Seasons) and buy 1 Kaffir lime. Now you have about 20 seeds. Clean them up and dry them off (I gave a tap water wash and left them on a paper towel over night) now you have the potoential to have about 8-10 Kaffir tree's. Try the same trick with a Lemon, Lime or Grapefruit...uh, no I guess not, none of those grow true from seed. Unless you just have to have a full sized tree *Right Now* then dont waste your money. I started my seeds last spring and my largest Kaffir is now around 3-4 feet tall. Decient resistance to pests (and I had nearly every indoor pest one can name over the winter) and though not cold hardy here in Z8b I still plan to plant one of my seedlings on the south side of my property, just to see if it will fly. Will let you all know how it goes.

Neutral tcfromky On Oct 26, 2004, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Very popular in Thai and Cambodian cooking as the fruit can be candied or it can be dried and used in curry pastes. The fruits can also be eaten with fish or made into drinks. The dried leaves are used in soups and curries. Only hardy in zones 9 - 10.

Positive jnn On Sep 24, 2004, jnn from Chapel Hill, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

We have been fortunate enough to have a Kaffir Lime tree for four years now. It is in a pot as we live in Zone 7 and have to bring it inside during the cold weather. We love to make Thai dishes using the Kaffir leaves. Incredible flavor. Don't let the thorns intimidate you!

Positive martina On Aug 1, 2004, martina from El Cajon, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Handsome tree, can be made even nicer with a bit of pruning, so far has not failed us in giving at least some harvest every year (we are not at all lucky with other types of limes), yields very aromatic fruit, and on top of that, its leaves have a fine citronella scent when crushed - they can be used in exotic dishes or just to smell and enjoy. Lovely tree, we like it.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Petersburg, Alaska
Castro Valley, California
Chualar, California
El Cajon, California
Fremont, California
Lakewood, California
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
San Leandro, California
Upland, California
Brandon, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Suwanee, Georgia
Hawi, Hawaii
Pukalani, Hawaii
Chicago, Illinois
New York City, New York
Nashville, Tennessee
Dallas, Texas
Galveston, Texas
San Marcos, Texas
Spicewood, Texas
Jonesville, Virginia
Walla Walla, Washington

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