By Michael Fox

I am always learning something new about our extraordinary local environment. Until recently I had never heard of Finger Lime Citrus australasica or any of the other native citrus.

Finger Lime surprise capsules

I discovered these fascinating plants when researching species for use in building Pollinator Links through our suburbs. Finger Limes are native to rainforests in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales, where they typically grow as an understory plant.

White Chocolate Finger Lime Cheesecake

Finger Limes have come out of the rainforest and into commercial orchards growing in the full sun. Chris Bourke of Tamborine Native Citrus can supply Finger Limes grafted onto commercial citrus root stock which will promote rapid growth and produce smaller trees suited to backyards. Finger Limes can also be successfully grown in pots so even unit dwellers can join in the fun. What colour will you grow?

Orchard Swallowtail laying her eggs
Photographer – Jude Fox

The lime juice comes in tiny surprise packs that stay intact when cooked in a cheesecake, ready to explode in your mouth as you eat. If you would like to make your own bush tucker cheesecake you can find the recipe at Marvick Native Farms. Substitute Finger Lime for Desert Lime and of course use Queensland Nut Macadamia integrifolia instead of Hazelnuts. Don’t whiz all the limes. Fold some juice capsules into the mix before pouring into the cake tin.

Better still you can grow your own Finger Limes and bring beautiful Orchard Swallowtail butterflies to your backyard. Be patient with the butterfly caterpillars, they will do very little damage to your lime tree. Eating the citrus leaves allows the caterpillars store toxins that transfer through to the butterflies making them taste unpleasant to bird predators.