Orange Limes

I’ve been going to the market a lot recently, and have noticed a lot of new vegetables and fruits being added to the mix. Like this fruit, at the fruit stand. Looking exactly like a lime only perfectly spherical rather than limey, I decided to take my chances on this odd fruit.

I sliced it open at home, and I swear I let out a squeal when I saw what was inside. It was an orange! Well, sort of- is an orange an orange if it doesn’t have that orange outer peel…? So, instead of using this in a salad dressing as originally intended, I used it in a bowl of sauteed chickpeas to add a little sweetness.

I still have no idea what fruit this is.  The fruit was ripe, juicy, and sweet like a tangerine. Even Googling “fruit that looks like a lime but tastes like an orange” brought me no answers. Any help out there?

29 thoughts on “Orange Limes

  1. Pingback: Peeps From Abroad » My lime lady

  2. We just bought a house in south Arkansas and have a tree with the same fruit on it. I was wondering what kind it was too!

    • Hi Tyler, reallly?! I had no idea they even grew in the states, I’ve never seen them before out on the West Coast where I grew up. Are they popular in the south, or was it totally random?!

  3. I have a lime tree that the peel and the fruit taste a little sweet, but the funny thing is if left on the tree longer the fruit turns orange and tastes even better. My dogs found this out, the orange lime fell off the tree and my dogs started eating them peel and all so I said left me tastes this . It was delicious!!! Now everyday my grand son who is 1 grabs my hand and takes me strait to my lime-orange tree so I can pick him one so he can eat every bit of it not sharing as usual. I’ve let everyone I know tastes them and we are all amazed by this tree. I’ve even tried to grow more but I think all my seeds were male because of the big thorns ( like tooth picks big) hopefully I can graft some female branches and get some more trees like the one I have. San Antonio, Texas

    • Im in San Antonio also and have the same tree! I thought maybe the leftover limes got old but went to pick one as they were very orange. Smelled like an orange, cut it and looked like an orange but still a bit sour with an orange taste. If picked when green they look, smell, and taste like limes. Now oranges? Im confused as to what these are now lol. And my tree has also developed the same huge thorns in the last several years…

  4. I just had a similar experience today. I thought I was just buying really big limes, but when I went to squeeze the fruit I was like, “Hm. That’s different.” I haven’t found any answers yet either, but stumbled here and thought I would comment that you’re not alone!

    • You know, this is one of my most popular posts, and I think it’s because so many people end up with surprise purchases and then turn to the internet to find out what’s going on!

    • So many people curious about the orange-lime things. I STILL, after years, haven’t found the name of the fruit. Do come back and let me know, if you ever find out!

  5. My fiance and I just bought a house about a month ago (Avondale, AZ) and we were very excited about the citrus trees in the yard, especially the lime tree. We finally picked some of the limes and we were shocked to see the orange center. They are delicious though! From what we found online its called a mandarin lime. Nothing came up when we googled it, but we googled “orange lime” in the images and we found a lot of pictures of them.

  6. this lime grows in Costa Rica, both cultivated and in the wild… I would love to find a place to buy a tree in the states… In Costa Rica they call it Limones Acidos because it is apparently more acidic than regular limes, the first choice for ceviche. I talked to some friends from Mexico and they said that these limes do not grow there.

    • Actually they are called Limon Mandarina because they are similar to a mandarin but, more acidic than one. The other lime in Costa Rica is equivalent to the US Key Lime. I have lived in CR for 17 years and have several of these trees. They make fabulous juice and are PERFECT for fresh Ceviche!

    • Hm. I just did a google image search and most of them have orange rinds- but I’m guessing there’s also a variety with a green rind? I swear, this is the biggest mystery in my life. Thanks for the clue!

  7. I was in Maui last week and this same tree produced both limes and mandarin limes…both very sweet/tart and juicy. These were better than any limes I’ve ever bought in a grocery store. I wish I could have them all the time, as I live in the midwest.

  8. Lima mandarina – the Mandarin Lime – is one of the treasures of Costa Rica and Panama. There is nothing that tastes quite like it, key lime with a splash of tangerine juice is close.

    I have sprouted two seeds and the two seedlings are completely different. At 4″ tall, one is heavily branched with small, narrow leaves on short stems. The other is straight, with larger leaves with long stems with petioles. I will grow both to see how they develop, and if one fruits true to type (guessing the small leafed one) then I will use the other as a rootstock for grafting.

    I live in Michigan and successfully raise oranges, Mexican limes, and Meyer lemons to maturity as potted trees. I hope the Mandarin Lime can be grown successfully as a container plant as well.

    • wow, thanks for the super insightful comment, Vikki! I can’t believe you’re in Michigan raising an abundance of citrus. It sounds magical. Good luck on your quest for a successful Mandarin Lime tree!

  9. We have been in Costa Rica right now for about six weeks and have been buying these orange colored limes to make ceviche. The locals call them mandarinas. They are quite sour but do have a bit of an orange taste. Inside they are orange and outside they are green and look like large limes.
    Wikipedia has a topic called Rangpur fruits. After reading it, I believe that is what these citrus fruits are. They are a hybrid fruit between the mandarin orange and the lemon.
    Neil | Joyfuljourneying recently posted..Sorry Americans, Your Cell Phone Is Useless Worldwide

  10. They grow these all over Vietnam also. I’ve no idea what they’re called but it makes a great balanced citrus dip instead of a overly sour dip that regular limes give. We replaced limes with them completely at our house I’m VN because the tree produces more product than the regular limes do.

  11. I bought two limes the other day, stuck them in the crisper drawer in the fridge. Today, I cut the one that had turned kind of yellow to see if it was usable. Wow! It was orange inside, like a tangerine. It looked fine so I ate it. Delicious! Intense flavor like a tangerine, but only a very mild tartness; quite sweet, really.
    I don’t remember exactly where I bought these, but I generally shop at only two different markets so I will do a two-legged search to find out what they are. My online search did not give satisfaction–even Wikipedia has no clue.

  12. Hi, I am in Samara Costa Rica right now and these are the limes you get everywhere. They replace limes in drinks and the trees grow everywhere here. I was told last night that they are a mix between a lemon, lime, and orange. They taste like they could be, they are a sweeter version of a lime for sure.

  13. My potted lime tree about 15 years old has small limes that now turn orange! I wonder if the potted lemon has cross pollinated it.
    They don’t taste like limes anymore. I have to bring them indoors for the Wisconsin winter. What happened?

  14. Can I get this in MN and grow in a pot? They r awesome in captain cokes…also in salsa. Has them in Costa Rica…delish on things or in things…can’t just eat them.

  15. Yes my name is Robin and I live here in Newellton Louisiana, from the south and I also have came across this fruit and I just LOVE THEM. They are so good in ice tea or I like just eating them whole like an apple. Our grocery store got a box of them by mistake and I haven’t seen them since. I googled them but couldn’t find what they see. I did save my seeds and when they dried I planted my seeds. I had about 12 seeds and I have 8 plants coming up so we shall see. I’m excited I do know that. I’m glad I know what they are now. Thank you.

  16. Just to add to the confusion we have been in our house in Mornington Victoria for over a year and what I thought was a Lime tree has now become an orange tree. Well what I swear was a lime tree the fruit were limes and recently have turned orange and inside are orange.
    Has anyone got an answer this is causing
    A lot of arguments with my partner!!

  17. …It is a Mandarin Lime…all citrus are kinda related…sometimes the Mandarin Orange will default to a Mandarin Lime…thorns?…sometimes lime trees are the same way….if you pick them early they are Limes….later …they are Lemons…

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