Is it a lemon or is it a lime? That is the question! This is the question that has haunted me all week, stupid as it may seem. I have never claimed to be a green thumb. In fact I openly admit my disgust for all things gardening. When I think of gardening I think of dirt under my nails, sweating outside, dirt all over my clothes and quite frankly how long it takes to weed and plant drives me insane. Whenever we start planting I imagine it taking an hour which in turn ends up being hours of prep work. In short, I'm just not that into it!

When Scott and I moved into our new house I was happy to see that the only gardens we had to worry about we're the three in front. Of course I already had plans of all the low maintenance bushes and shrubs I could fill them with. The backyard was all grass, a large oak tree and one small tree in the corner. We thought it might be some sort of fruit but didn't quite know what kind. Sure enough, a few months later around the holidays a small green fruit started to grow. I was convinced it was a lime tree. what perfect timing for me to add some limes and cranberries to my water for our Christmas party. There I was, giddy as a schoolgirl, taking pictures as I cut the limes from our backyard in our first house. A fruit tree in OUR backyard.

Fast forward 4 months...I'm in the backyard and when I glance over at the "lime" tree my mouth fell to the floor. There on my lime tree hung what looked to be almost ripe lemons. I had to laugh at myself as I thought what an ass hole I was cutting up those limes at Christmas. Here I was thinking I had lime and cranberry water when in actuality I was serving unripe lemons!

I really started wondering how do you tell a lemon from a lime? Cut it open! It was a sour and tinted green...but is that because its an over ripe lime or an unripe lemon? Ask the neighbors! "Hey LADY! When you reach over our fence to steal fruit are you stealing lemons or limes?" Haha, I am so tempted!  Thank god for google!  I found some great information from Garden Guides and I also found this funny blog post by Amateur Gourmet: That's not a lime tree. Obviously I'm not the only one to ever be confused! 

Here is what I learned from Garden Guides:

To the untrained eye, lemon trees and lime trees look nearly identical, unless they have ripe fruit on them. They both grow in the same regions and have the same general shape, bark texture and color. However, there are some telltale signs that differentiate lime trees from lemon trees. No matter what part of the growth cycle the tree is in, you can tell whether it is lime or lemon in as little as a minute.

Step 1
Look at the size of the tree. A fully grown lemon tree can grow up to 20 feet tall with widespread branches. Lime trees are generally more narrow and shorter, usually no taller than 13 feet at full height.
Step 2
Examine the leaves. Lemon leaves are long and narrow, usually around 5 inches long. Lime leaves are more rounded and shorter, usually between 3 and 4 inches long.

Step 3
Tear a leaf open and smell it.  Lemon leaves have a very mild citrus aroma and lime leaves have a bold lime smell. 
Step 4
Examine the flowers if they are present. Lemon flowers grow in pairs or singles and are tinted purple. Lime leaves grow in small clusters and are completely white.

Step 5
Examine the fruit if it is present. Lemons are pointed on both ends, much like a football, and have thick skin. Limes are more rounded, like a basketball, and have thin skin.



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