Wild Species, Cultivars and Hybrids

Australia has six species of true native citrus.

Previously they were originall classified as being in two genera (Eremocitrus, desert limes and Microcitrus, finger limes).

However, recent taxonomic work has led to their reclassification and they are now included in the genus Citrus (along with oranges, lemons, limes, etc), emphasising their close relationship with ‘conventional’ citrus.
Native citrus species that are able to hybridise with a range of other citrus species, have been trialled as rootstocks and successfully grafted onto conventional citrus rootstocks. These abilities, along with attributes such as drought and salinity tolerance and disease resistance, have long attracted the interest of citrus researchers and breeders, including the CSIRO.

Improved selections and hybrids of native citrus also have potential in their own right for commercial production of fruit for both the fresh and high-value processing markets.

Fruit is used in a range of sweet and savoury processed products, such as marmalades and sauces, and is in demand by chefs producing ‘Australian Native Cuisine’ dishes. To-date, most fruit has been harvested from the wild. Commercial orchard production has also commenced and, because of quality and reliability of supply factors as well as environmental concerns, may eventually replace wild harvested fruit.

Three cultivars of wholly or partly Australian native citrus parentage have been developed by the CSIRO at their Merbein research facility – the Australian Outback Lime, the Australian Blood Lime and the Australian Sunrise Lime.

Source Anthony Hele, Industry Development Consultant, Native Foods
 
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