Citrus hystrix DC.

Family: Rutaceae

Common names: Caffir lime, Kaffir lime, Leech lime, Porcupine orange, Rough lemon, Thai Bai Makrut, Wart lime, Wild lime.

Vernacular namesBurmese: Shauk Cho, Shouk-Pote, Shauk Nu. Chinese: Ma Feng Gan, Mao Li Qiu Si Ku Cheng. Czech: Kaffir citrus. Danish: Kaffir lime.  DutchLimoenblaadjes,  Indonesische citroenboom, Kaffir limoen, Djeroek Poeroet. Finnish: Kaffir Limetti. French: Combava. German: Indische Zitrone, Kaffir limette, Makrut limette. Hungarian: Kaffircitrom. India (Tamil): Kolumichai. Indonesia: Juuk Purut. Japanese: Bai Makkuruu, Kobu Mikan. Malaysia: Limau Purut, Limau Hantu. Philippines: Kabog, Kamuntai. Spanish: Naranja Puerco-Espin, Hojas de lima Cafre, Lima Kaffir. Swedish: Kafirlime. Thailand: Bai makrut, Luuk makrut,

THE ORIGIN

OF THE KAFFIR LIME

Kaffir limes trees (C. hystrix) are thorny citrus trees that grow to about 10 m. They have very aromatic hourglass shaped leaves. The fruit is golf ball size and warty, best picked green, it is over-ripe when yellow. 

 

History

The kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix de Candolle) is a citrus native to the Malaysian archipelago, that Pierre Poivre introduced to Mauritius (then French) around 1770. Plants were brought back from Timor to Paris by the naturalists on Nicolas Baudin's expedition, and cultivated in the Paris region and in Italy. De Candolle, a professor in Montpellier named it Cirtus hystrix ("thorny") in 1812. Hence the name of Lemon Hedgehog given to it at the beginning of the 19th century.

At the same time it  was known as the "Silversmiths' lime" because the juice was used in India to clean jewelry. Risso adds that it was also used as laundry soap, as "impenetrable" hedges and that its candied fruit is excellent.

The English find the Kaffir lime cultivated in India, but the description given by William Roxburgh is not precise, he calls it the sweet lime of the Moluccas. The English word "kaffir lime" was little mentioned before the end of the 20th century. In 1914  A Handbook of Tropical Gardening and Planting, by Hugh F. Macmillan mentions Ceylon's "Kaffir Lime", almost the size of a lemon, with a warty and coarse skin ". But it was in the 1980s, with the discovery of Malaysian and Thai cuisines that the “Kaffir lime leaves (limau purut)” appear in English. (William Crawford, Kamolmal Pootaraksa -Penguin Publishing, 1986 - Thai Home-Cooking from Kamolmal's Kitchen).

It is sometimes called Mauritius Papeda or Reunion Combava, by the FAO. In French, the word Combava has been used sporadically since the beginning of the 19th century and regularly since the 1960s. The Combava is known via the cuisine of the Réunion, Maurice and  Mayotte islands. It is essential to Rougail, a dish (made with green fruit, tomatoes and chilis) from the Réunion that is mentioned as early as 1869.

In 1951, the Revue Agricole de la Réunion indicates that it exists in some old orchards on the windward coast. hystrix D C., a species known as Combava, occurs almost everywhere between 0 and 500 m above sea level.  “The very bitter peel are sometimes used in Rougail. » et en 1980 Jean François Sam-Long Writes that the peel and fragrant leaves of the Combava are part of the recipe for tomatoe Rougail. It is only in the 21st century that combava is linked to Thai cuisine in French written sources and then the leaf alone is used in cooking.