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Minnie Finger Lime Makes Its Debut

Sliced and whole Minnie Finger limes displayed alongside a quarter.

Minnie Finger Lime, a new citrus cultivar developed by Agricultural Research Service scientists. (Kim Bowman, D4164-1)

Minnie Finger Lime is the perfect name for a new citrus cultivar developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists. It’s as small as your thumb and was bred to grow well in Florida, the home of Minnie Mouse and Disney World! Finger limes are typically grown in California, but a niche presented itself in Florida, and ARS researchers filled it.

Plant geneticist Kim Bowman and colleagues at the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida, are the masterminds behind this new citrus wonder. Minnie Finger Lime is a very small fruit—a little over 2 inches long, but only three quarters of an inch around—and weighs about one third of an ounce. It has pale-yellow to pale-green pulp-vesicles that are ovoid shaped instead of the typical teardrop shape of regular limes. These traits have inspired chefs to use finger limes as an attractive fresh garnish.

The finger lime is sometimes described as citrus caviar because of the appearance of the pulp-vesicles and their firm, popping texture. “Minnie Finger Lime is intended for use as a garnish and for flavoring, much like the closely related Australian finger lime,” says Bowman.

Minnie Finger Lime was developed and evaluated as a novelty or specialty cultivar and for its ability to grow in Florida. “Minnie Finger Lime typically grows as an attractive and very compact tree, suitable for pot culture and the backyard,” says Bowman.

Source plant material for Minnie Finger Line is available from the Florida Bureau of Citrus Budwood Registration clean budwood program. Genetic material of this release will be placed in the National Plant Germplasm System, where it will be available for research purposes, including development and commercialization of new cultivars.

“We developed Minnie Finger Lime for Florida growers who want to expand their portfolio and provide this cultivar to the local niche restaurant market,” says Bowman.—By Sharon Durham, ARS Office of Communications.

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