Limeberry (lemmon di china)

Limeberry at Asan Beach
Limeberry is a small tree that is a member of the citrus family. It is found in areas of limestone and grows up to four meters (12.5 ft) tall. The stems or trunks are not erect or straight; but zigzag. This crooked nature of the stems contributes to a tendency to form dense, spiny, thickets. Three distinguishing characteristics are (1) small, shiny, green, leaves; (2) thorns that are capable of tearing clothes and can make thickets impenetrable; and (3) a red fruit that resembles a cherry.

Traditional Uses
Though wide spread on the island, limeberry was little used by the CHamoru. Botanist William Safford, visiting Guam at the turn of the 20th century, explains why: “The fruit is bittersweet. It is agreeable if eaten in small quantities, but is mucilaginous and astringent, and one soon tires of it.” The tree had a number of minor uses: tool handles, firewood, and hedges.

Last updated: February 8, 2018

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