Are Lemons and Limes the same Fruit?-Kitchen facts

Lemons and limes are popular fruits with a highly citrus taste. Lime and lemon juice are an important part of our daily healthy breakfast if you are familiar with it. Interestingly, Lemonade can give you refreshment and lime juice can add more fresh flavor to your food. Both are delicious and important for our diet. Both these fruits appear the same but have your ever thought- Are lemons and limes the same fruit? Is there any similarity or difference? If so what are those?

Today we will discuss all these and try to find relevant and valid answers. If you are interested in food, science & gardening the keep reading…[my previous article: Is Broccoli Man-Made or Genetically Modified Food?]

Are Lemons and Limes the same Fruit
Are Lemons and Limes the same Fruit?- No, they are different fruits

Are lemons and limes the same fruit?

No Lemons and limes are two different fruits. The scientific name for Lemon is Citrus limon and the name for limes is Citrus latifolia.

Both Limes and lemons have the same origin with different genetic traits. It took more than 1000 years for the ancient members of the citrus family to finally evolve into limes and lemons.

In the genetic hierarchy, Lime is elder than lemon. We can relate the development of lemons with successive hybridization of ancient limes with other citrus fruits like citron and pummelo.

The history shows traces of early modification in lime to form lemons related to India a country in the Southern part of Asia (Indian Subcontinent).

In India, lime gets its first step hybridization, at least known to man. Another genetic trait relates to the middle east somewhere dated 400 AD or so. Second step hybridization in lime occurs at this time, maybe with pummelo. This was the time when Arabs introduced lime to Europe.

Later on nearly after the 1000 year, somewhere near 1480-1494, Christopher Columbus introduced Lemons to America. Since then Florida and other states in the US are successfully cultivating lemons.

Due to this successive hybridization, the basic characteristics if Lime is entirely different from lemons. Both lime and lemons look similar but they are entirely different in taste, smell, shape, size, and growth requirements.

According to these facts, we can easily conclude that Limes and lemons are not the same fruit.

Lime Lemon
Scientific Name Citrus latifolia Citrus limon
Variety 15 commercial known varieties worldwide More than 20 known varieties cultivated worldwide.
Location Loves Tropical climate Less tropical likes the little dry environment.

Do lemons and limes grow on the same tree?- No Both lime and lemon grow in different trees. The trees look similar but they are not. Even lime and lemons do have some significant differences.

It is interesting that with modern grafting techniques we can grow both lime and lemons in the same tree. But naturally, they grow in two entirely different trees.

Similarities between Lime and Lemmon fruit

Lime Lemon
Genus: Citrus Citrus
Order: Sapindales Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae Rutaceae
Subclass: Rosidae Rosidae
Class: Magnoliopsida Magnoliopsida
Division: Magnoliophyta Magnoliophyta
Kingdom: Plantae Plantae

These similarities raise the question- are lemons and limes the same fruit? Keep reading for an answer with valid reasons. you can also read the previous post about- Why do Plants need Water? 5 Reason to Know.

Are limes unripe lemons

Limes are not unripe lemons. It is a common misconception that limes are unripped lemons. People occasionally get confused with limes considering them as unripe lemons.

The main reason for this confusion is the color. Both lime and lemons are green when unripe and complete yellow on maturing. The problem arises when we compare a lemon and lime bought from the store. Lime is used when they are fresh green but lemons are generally used when fully ripened and turned yellow.

The similarity in shape and difference in color causes a state of confusion. Concluding that, We can say that limes are not unripped lemons– for sure. Both lime and lemons are different fruits.

Are limes baby lemons?- No, exactly not. Limes are not baby lemons. Despite all the similarities both lime and lemon are two different fruits from the citrus family. They are different in taste and smell.

Comparing the green color and smaller shape of lime creates the confusion of baby lemons. They look the same but are completely different fruits. Always remember Limes are not baby Lemons.

Difference between lime and lemon tree

Initially, both lime and lemon tree looks the same. Even the seeds look the same. The first few weeks after seed germination is the same.

The interesting part is lemons don’t like tropical climate whereas limes do. So you will observe a significant difference in the growth pattern in both these citrus fruit plants.

In a shorter plant, we can only distinguish the leaves to find a difference in lime and lemon plant. The leaves of the lime plant or tree are short and rounded. Whereas the leaves of lemon plants are long and narrow. The shape of the leaf is a significant difference between lime and lemon tree.

In a mature tree or plant, distinguishing lime and lemon is quite easy. Lemon plants are bigger in shape and size. A fully grown lemon tree can attain a height of 20 feet. A lime tree is short and slender in comparison to a lemon tree.

The thickness of the stem and branches in another noticeable difference in a lime and lemon tree.

Lime Lemon
Size of plant Smaller Big, Tall 20 feet approx.
Leaves Wide, round Long, Narrow
Smell Bold, long-lasting Gentle, soothing citrus scent

Difference between Lime and Lemon fruits

Both lime and lemons are so similar that sometimes it is very confusing to identify them correctly. The best we can do is to ask the seller or check for correct labels. Is it all we can do? Or is there a way to identify these correctly?

Yes, there is a way, a perfect way to identify a lime and lemon correctly without any confusion. keep reading for details…

Lime Lemon
Shape Round, mostly even in shapes like a soccer or FIFA ball. Keen-shaped, Slightly irregular and elliptical. Pointed on both ends like an American football or rugby ball.
Size Smaller, mostly 2-4 cm in diameter Big, 3-8 cm as per records.
Smell Bold, long-lasting Gentle, soothing citrus scent
Skin Mostly thin skin with bold aroma. Both Thick and thin skin lemons are found
Color Used with green color, maturing to yellow color Used when fully matured, yellow-colored lemons are the best.
Taste Sour, Bitter. Highly acidic taste Sweet, sour. Less acidic taste.

Lime vs lemon benefits and Uses

Both Lime and lemon have several health benefits. The presence of citric acid is common to both but the amount is slightly different. This citric acid has many commercial use & benefits.

In the culinary world, both lime and lemons are used as flavoring agents as well as to increase acidic content.

Lime and lemon have a slightly different taste. Lime is more sour and bitter than lemon. This difference in taste has created specific uses for both lime and lemon.

Most of us are familiar with lemonade and lime juice. What is the difference, Have you ever noticed? Lime juice is strong in flavor and aroma whereas lemon juice or lemonade is more gentle and subtle, sweet in taste and smell.

Specifically, lime is always used fresh and green whereas lemon is used when the fruit is completely ripe. A good lemon should be perfect yellow and must have thin skin.

Now let us compare some nutritional values in lime and lemon fruit. keep reading for more details…

Lime vs Lemon Nutritional Values

Lime Lemon
Magnesium: 6 mg per 100g 8 mg per 100g
Phosphorus: 18 mg per 100g 16 mg per 100g
Calcium: 33 mg per 100g 26 mg per 100g
Iron: 0.6 mg per 100g 0.6 mg per 100g
Potassium: 102mg per 100g 138 mg per 100g
Folate:(essential during pregnancy) 8 mcg per 100g 11 mcg per 100g
Vitamin A: 50 IU per 100g 22 IU per 100g
Vitamin C: 29 mg per 100g 53 mg per 100g

Lime and lemon also contain traces of selenium, Zink, Manganese, and copper. These fruits are known to help with digestive problems.  Also lime and lemons are good antioxidants helping in improving immunity. The high concentration of vitamin C in lime and lemon helps increase immunity against many harmful diseases including the flu or Influenza virus.

Special use: You can lime or lemon to control your hangover, It is highly effective in controlling side-effects of alcohol.

Final words

Both lime and lemons are useful to any extent. But they have some limitations or at least some side effects can be seen if consumed in excess. Acidity is a common digestive problem with acidic foods. Overall there are some similarities but not more than the differences. Therefore, According to science and scientific evidence, we can conclude that Lime and lemons are not the same fruits.

Write your opinion below about today’s topic- are lemons and limes the same fruit?


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

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