Key lime plant indoor

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Key lime plant indoor

The lime plant (Tillandsia usneoides) is a bromeliad native to the tropical Americas. It is a plant species in the bromeliad family Bromeliaceae. It is usually grown as an ornamental plant and is often popular as a houseplant. It is easily propagated by stem cuttings.


It is sometimes known as the or (depending on the variety) and most often by the name lime plant, especially in English-speaking countries. It has also been referred to as potted lime tree or spindle tree (the latter name referring to its spindle-like foliage).

The specific epithet usneoides means 'similar to a dog's nose'.

In Spanish the name is (plural: ), from the verb , meaning 'to smell'.


The lime plant is in the Bromeliaceae family, which are known for their diverse foliage and flowers. Lime plants tend to produce a rosette of spindly leaves about long. Some varieties produce only one leaf in a rosette. The flowers may be white, pink or red.

It can be propagated from cuttings or seed.

Range and distribution

The lime plant is native to the tropical Americas. It is also found growing in California and Hawaii. It is commonly grown as an indoor plant and is occasionally grown as an outdoor plant. It does not tolerate temperatures below or temperatures above .

Description of the lime plant

The lime plant is a tropical plant that grows to tall and is most popular in small, decorative, potted indoor plants. These plants require bright indirect light and must be kept damp. The indoor plants are easily propagated from stem cuttings, but may flower on a branch that has been in the ground. The indoor plant is a popular houseplant in the United States, where its popularity began in the early 1900s. The lime plant requires humidity to grow well. In the United States, the lime plant is commonly found in the south and east coasts and in New England. Lime plants are in many public gardens and private collections worldwide, including those at New York Botanical Garden, The Huntington, Chicago Botanic Garden, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Gardens, and the Uffizi in Florence, Italy.

Health effects

The lime plant is a very small plant and is not recommended for those with respiratory ailments, including asthma. Exposure to excessive amounts of lime plant material can cause symptoms of contact dermatitis. Some individuals may be allergic to the lime plant and experience mild itching, reddening of the lips and nose, watery eyes, or breathing difficulties. These symptoms may disappear within a few hours after exposure.


Like most members of the plant family, the lime plant has the potential to be poisonous to children, pets, or domestic livestock. Because of the toxicity of the fruit, the lime plant should never be planted next to food crops. Although not generally regarded as toxic, consumption of the plant is dangerous to dogs and cats, which eat the fruit.

Chemical analysis

The chemical analysis of lime fruits is listed in the table. The fruits have a high magnesium content and the lime plant has been used as a treatment for chronic fatigue, which has magnesium content. The plant is high in calcium and iron and may be an aid in treating fatigue. The fruit has a high citric acid content and lower amount of malic acid. It has been used as a source of tartaric acid.

Culinary uses

Although not a culinary plant, the lime tree is used in making a popular fruit drink, the Margarita, in some Mexican and Mexican American communities. A lime juice called Key lime, and used in some drinks, is produced from the fruit. The juice may be used in a drink with rum, which creates a Key lime pie, or with cola, which creates a Florida soda.

Mud-and-straw method

A lime tree planting method known as the mud-and-straw method is used in parts of Texas for the production of cattle feed. A field is prepared, which may require removing sod and soil or tilling. Lime tree seeds are sown into the prepared field, along with straw, usually in the fall. They are then covered with a thin layer of topsoil. If the area is too dry to be covered, the topsoil can be watered. In the spring, the lime tree seeds and straw absorb water and are placed on maturation piles. When the tree trees begin to develop flowers and fruit, the piles are covered with more topsoil and lime waste. Cattle are allowed to graze in the field, which will break the seeds in the feces. Then in the fall, new seeds and fruit will germinate and be ready to be harvested the next spring.

See also


List of citrus and juicy fruits

List of plants called "lime"

Lime production in Mexico

Limette, a lime cultivar


External links


Category:Garden plants

Category:Bird plants

Category:Drought-tolerant trees

Category:Fruit trees

Category:Tropical fruit

Category:Trees of Central America

Category:Trees of the Caribbean

Category:Tropical fruit stubs

Category:Garden plants of North America

Category:Garden plants of South America

Category:Tropical fruit

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