Having a huge garden or backyard and living in a warm climate allows you to grow a tall-growing Spanish lime.
Also known as the mamoncillo tree, this species is hard to cultivate in a tiny garden or patio. You need to have a spacious area to grow it around your house.
Mamoncillo itself has a range of other names despite the above-mentioned ones. Its name includes Chenette, Guaya, Ginnip, Limoncillo, Guenepa, and some others. However, you may simply call this fruit tree a Spanish lime too.
If you have a lot of space and are interested in growing this tree around your garden, the following guide will keep you informed before planting one.
1. Basic Information about Spanish Lime
Despite being named lime, mamoncillo is not a part of the citrus family. It is called that way because of its appearance that looks like a smaller version of this fruit.
This fruit-bearing tree belongs to the soapberry family with the scientific name Melicoccus bijugatus. From the relations, it is safe to say that Spanish limes are more closely related to lychee and longan than lime.
A Spanish lime tree can reach up to 85 feet in height and spread vigorously once matures. That’s why a spacious garden is necessary to grow the plant.
Mamoncillo trees are originally from tropical areas such as Central and South America, as well as some parts of the Caribbean.
Dry forests, secondary woodlands, coastal areas, and old farmsteads are the most common places to discover these trees being naturally grown and cultivated.
• Leaves and Flowers
The leaves of mamoncillo trees are early deciduous and paripinnate. They have asymmetrical, ovate, or oblong shapes with glabrous on the surfaces.
Then, the flowers of this lime are usually 2 to 5 inches long with cream to yellowish coloration. They may release fragrance and bloom on terminal panicles.
On the other hand, the trunk of these trees is relatively smooth and chunky with light-gray bark and horizontal markings.
Even though mamoncillo fruits appear like a cluster of small limes, their taste resembles lychee. Some also refer them to look similar to tiny unripe mangoes.
Meanwhile, the texture of mamoncillo will remind you of a boiled egg with its tough shell outside and yielding pulpy fruit inside.
The pulp of a Spanish lime is juicy with acid-sweet and rather astringent flavor. Then, the color is typically orange to salmon pink. People usually use it to make tasty jams, jelly, as well as pies.
There will be also a somewhat big kernel to which the gelatinous aril of the pulp is attached tightly. Spanish lime seeds are normally 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters in length and have yellowish-white color.
Several trees generate an amount of fruit with double hemispherical seeds. When mature, the fruits can be 10 to 25 grams in weight and come with green to yellowish skin.
2. Requirements to Grow Mamoncillo in Your Garden
Naturally, mamoncillo trees will grow properly in an area with a subtropical or tropical climate. They cannot survive in the temperature that is below -4 degrees Celsius.
Since a Spanish lime tree is not too picky about soil, you can easily grow it in a range of types including sandy, poor, and rich ones.
You just need to make sure that the soil is well-drained and don’t expose the tree in frost since it may get serious damage.
Just like many other tropical trees, mamoncillo loves the full sun as well as warm exposure. Once established, they are highly drought-tolerant. However, young plants may need constant watering to thrive properly.
Rather than growing the mamoncillo tree from seeds, it is much more recommended to purchase a plant from your nearby nursery for a quicker result.
Keep in mind that growing a Spanish lime from seeds will take around eight to 10 years to fruit. That’s why you better purchase a young healthy plant and grow it on a dry, sunny area that is not shaded by other trees in the garden.
3. General Guide to Care Mamoncillo Tree
Fertilizing is a part of good care for the mamoncillo tree. It is especially suggested to feed the young plant that has not reached four years yet.
You can use a complete fertilizer every several months or provide the young tree with well-rotted manure twice a year.
Once your mamoncillo trees mature and begin to produce fruits, don’t forget to apply potassium-rich as well as phosphorous fertilizer as well.
Pruning is also necessary to manage the height of your tree since it is capable to cultivate enormously. Besides, you should maintain its shape, structure, and density for the best.
After four to five years of growth, you may start seeing the tree to bear fruits during summer and at the beginning of fall.
However, it may take longer to see your mamoncillo trees to start producing fruits if you grow them from seeds.
You can harvest the produces when the shell of the fruits turn brittle and can be broken easily.
When growing Spanish lime, you also need to keep an eye on common garden pests including citrus black and fruit flies since they may affect your trees.
Mamoncillo trees are also prone to green scurf and leaf spots as these are the most common diseases that may affect them.
4. The Advantages of Spanish Limes for Your Health
If you are not yet convinced to start looking for aSpanish lime tree for sale, the below list of their benefits and common uses may be of interest.
Packed with nutrients, the fruits of mamoncillo trees offer a variety of benefits for your health.This sweet luscious produce is not only fresh but also very practical for making numerous desserts and sauces.
Stabilizing mood is one of the health benefits you can obtain from Spanish lime. This fruit is often associated with a good natural remedy to boost mood and manage anxiety.
The high antioxidants, concentrated minerals, and unrefined acids in this fruit are the primary reasons why it can help with anxiety as well as mood swings.
Aside from stabilizing your temper, these limes also offer the following health benefits.
• Encourage Better Sleep
Thanks to its high level of tryptophan, mamoncillo fruits are capable to promote better sleep. This kind of amino acid is essential for achieving good slumber.
In addition to tryptophan, Spanish limes also contain lysine that encourages excellent growth and keep a healthy appetite.
Since your body’s cells will grow and regenerate throughout the night, the mix of tryptophan, as well as lysine in this fruit, should provide a good condition for the body.
• Maintain Healthy Eyes
Rich in vitamin A, Spanish lime also promotes healthy eyes. It can also prevent a deficiency of the said compound which may result in Nyctalopia.
Nyctalopia itself is a condition where you cannot see properly in dim light. Meanwhile, vitamin A is also good for boosting your immunity.
As a result, consuming fruits of mamoncillo trees can also help your body to fight various infections, particularly viral ones such as common colds.
• Reduce Blood Pressure and Prevent Diabetes
Antioxidants contained in Spanish limes also play a significant role in lowering blood vessel injures caused by free radicals.
By having healthier blood vessels, your heart can put fewer endeavors in pushing the blood that may result in lowering problems related to the high pressure.
Along with its ability to reducing bad cholesterol in your body, mamoncillo fruits should be able to keep you away from a variety of cardiovascular diseases.
It is no secret that Spanish lime acquires some amount of sugar in the form of fructose that is harder to absorb compared to the simple glucose.
Some researches show that consuming mamoncillo fruits can also lower blood sugar levels thanks to the protein substances within them.
Moreover, fibers found inside the lime will also avoid too much glucose to be absorbed into the bloodstream. For this reason, the fruits are often associated to prevent diabetes.
• Improve Urinary and Digestive System
Vitamin A found in mamoncillo fruits is also beneficial for your body’s urinary system. Studies suggested that an increase of this nutrient can lower the risk of infections by more than two-thirds.
For this reason, people who suffer bladder infections may consider consuming Spanish lime that is full of vitamin A.
Not only useful in improving urinary systems, but mamoncillo fruits also have a good amount of fibers that can help prevent constipation.
These fruits help to do so by soaking up water from the outer surface of the colon while elevating the mass of the stool.
Meanwhile, the available fibers in these fruits can also help to get relieved from diarrhea by absorbing too much water from your stool.
You can take advantage of the mamoncillo seeds for soothing away diarrhea. In this case, simply roast, crush, and mix the kernels with honey to relieve the issue.
Besides, the leaves of Spanish lime can also be useful for treating intestinal problems. You just need to boil them and use the decoction to do so.
• Maintain Healthy Teeth and Bones
Due to a good amount of calcium in them, mamoncillo fruits and seeds are also useful for maintaining healthy teeth and bones. As you may already know, regular intake of this mineral can prevent osteoporosis.
The seeds of mamoncillo acquire a high amount of phosphorus that works together with calcium to encourage healthy bones as well as teeth.
Phosphorous present in this fruit also makes consuming mamoncillo fruits beneficial to boost your immune system that combats various illnesses and infections.
A study found that incorporating Spanish lime in diet can increase immunity and also lower the number of health issues suffered.
• Aid Weight Loss
Since Spanish limes are low in calories, they can help to reduce cholesterol and lose weight. Meanwhile, the high fibers in these fruits willallow you to eat less during the day.
If you are planning to lose weight, adding mamoncillo fruits in your daily diet will be a good choice. They can keep you busy and full longer throughout the day.
By losing excess weight, you will be away from obesity that may lead to a range of cardiovascular diseases including heart attacks, strokes, and hypertension.
Containing a good amount of iron, mamoncillo is capable to fight anemia as well by generating red blood cells.
Therefore, don’t hesitate to include the fruits of mamoncillo on your daily diet to stay healthy and away from various health problems.
5. Common Uses of Spanish Limes in Our Everyday Life
Aside from providing you with a selection of health benefits, mamoncillo fruits and seeds are often used in other circumstances as well. For instance, the kernels become a popular alternative for cassava flour when it comes to baking.
But for those who have a gluten allergy, using Spanish lime flour to replace wheat flour will be a good option.
Since the mamoncillo tree is very beautiful when flowering, it makes a great ornamental plant in backyards and side roads.
An ornamental plant itself is highly essential considering its ability to generate oxygen and suck up carbon dioxide. As a result, the surrounding’s air can be fresher and healthier for people to live in.
Furthermore, the blossoms of mamoncillo trees are also rich in nectar, making them inviting for honeybees and hummingbirds.
Through their flowering season, you can enjoy the dark-colored honey that has a pleasing flavor.
You can also use the juice from the Spanish lime as a natural fabric-dry. Its dark-brown stain will be able to update your old tees into something more interesting.
The heartwood of mamoncillo trees can also be used for cabinetwork and indoor framing. They are yellow-colored with compact, fine-grained, and dark lines.
When it comes to culinary purposes, you may utilize mamoncillo fruits to create marmalade, drinks, jam, and jellies. Meanwhile, the peeled one can be boiled to make a cold beverage.
It is also possible to cook this fruit with poultry and meat. The fresh juice can be incorporated into cocktails too.
If you want to use it as traditional medicine, simply pulverized and roasted the seeds of Spanish lime for treating dysentery and intestinal problems.
In conclusion, growing Spanish lime trees can be a great idea if you own a huge yard or garden. From the leaves to the fruits, they provide benefits and practical uses that are very regretful to be missed.