The Palestine sweet lime or limetta is a hybrid. It is not known where or how the sweet lime originated. It is thought to be a hybrid between a Mexican lime and a sweet lemon or sweet citron, and believed to be native to India. It is chiefly cultivated in central and northern India, northern Vietnam, Egypt and the Mediterranean coast. It arrived to the U.S. from Saharanpur, India, in 1904; there is modest cultivation in California. The fruit is eaten fresh in India, as well as cooked and preserved.
The tree is medium-large with an irregular spreading form. The flowers are pure white, and the new growth is bright green. The fruits are small, round to slightly oblong, and have a thin, smooth, rind with prominent oil glands. At maturity, the rind is pale green to orange-yellow. The flesh is pale yellow, tender and juicy, with some seeds. The flavor is insipid due to the lack of acidity in the fruit but is appealing to some. Palestinian sweet lime is also used as a citrus rootstock.
This sweet lime is remarkably affected by climatic influences. Desert-grown fruit differs so greatly in size, color, form, and rind texture from that produced in the cool, equable coastal region that the inexperienced observer would consider them to be different fruits. Sweet limes can be easily mistaken for lemons because of their yellow color. From the genus citrus aurantifola, yellow sweet limes are ripe for picking, while green ones haven't reached their full sweetness yet.
Sweet limes have a unique flavor because they have less acid than ordinary limes. Because it's high in vitamin C and dietary fiber, sweet lime juice is used in India to soothe throat infections, nausea, and fevers. Because the lime lacks acidity, the juice cannot be used as a preservative in the same way that other lemon and lime juices can be.