This tool is part of the Citrus Resource

Citrus ID


Bearss Lime




Barbara, Byrum Seedless, IAC, Parker, Tanepao (sec. Cottin 2002)

Cultivar or taxon


Citrus x latifolia (Yu. Tanaka) Tanaka, pro sp. (sensu Mabberley 2004, Bayer et al. 2009); Citrus aurantiifolia (Christm.) Swingle [=Citrus x aurantiifolia (Christm.) Swingle, pro sp.] (sensu Swingle and Reece 1967 sec. Cottin 2002); Citrus latifolia (Yu. Tanaka) Tanaka (sensu Hodgson 1967; sensu Tanaka sec. Cottin 2002)



Hodgson (1967) noted that:

"According to Webber (1943), this variety originated about 1895 on the place of T. J. Bearss, a nurseryman at Porterville, California. While the facts are unknown, it presumably occurred as a seedling of a tree grown from seed from a fruit of Tahitian origin. It seems first to have been described and illustrated by Lelong (1902) and was introduced and promoted by the Fancher Creek Nursery Company of Fresno in 1905. Although the Tahiti lime was reported to be growing in Florida as early as 1883 (Ziegler and Wolfe 1961), it is not known when Bearss was introduced there. Moreover, the present lime industry in Florida is based on a variety known as Persian. For many years, therefore, it appeared that the two varieties were different though obviously similar. Comparisons conducted in California, however, although not wholly satisfactory because of complicating disease factors, strongly support the conclusion that the two clones are identical. If this is indeed the case, it seems highly probable that this variety originated considerably earlier than Webber reports.

Found about 1934 by G. L. Polk in Homestead, Florida, and introduced in 1941 (U.S. Plant Patent No. 444) is the derivative, smaller, round-fruited variety, named Idemor, which occurred as a limb sport. More recently, what appears to be a similar mutation has been reported in a Bearss tree in Morocco. Idemor has not achieved commercial importance."



Crown compact or dense, not weeping. First-year twig surface glabrous; second- or third-year twig surface striate; thorns absent or not persistent; prickles absent or not persistent. Petiole glabrous, length short, wings absent. Leaflets one, margins crenate/crenulate or bluntly toothed, shade leaflet blades weakly conduplicate, sun leaflet blades weakly or strongly conduplicate. Scent of crushed leaflets freshly lemon-like. Fruit as broad as long or longer than broad, rind green-yellow (6), yellow (7-10), or yellow-orange (11); rind texture slightly rough (4-5); firmness leathery; navel absent; flesh green/greenish; taste sour.

Hodgson (1967) provided the following additional notes on the cultivar: "Both tree and fruit of the Bearss variety correspond closely with the Tahiti description. The flowers are devoid of viable pollen also, contain exceedingly few functional ovules, and the fruits are regularly seedless. The Bearss variety is triploid in its genetic constitution (Bacchi, 1940). Moreover, the comparatively rare seeds which occur are highly monoembryonic also."



Bacchi, O. 1940. Observações citológicas em citrus. I. Número de cromosômios de algumas espécies e variedades. Jornal de Agronomia [Piracicaba] 3: 249–258.

Bayer, R.J., D.J. Mabberley, C. Morton, C.H. Miller, I.K. Sharma, B.E. Pfeil, S. Rich, R. Hitchcock, and S. Sykes. 2009. A molecular phylogeny of the orange subfamily (Rutaceae: Aurantioideae) using nine cpDNA sequences. American Journal of Botany 96: 668–685.

Cottin, R. 2002. Citrus of the World: A citrus directory. Version 2.0. France: SRA INRA-CIRAD.

Hodgson, R.W. 1967. Horticultural varieties of Citrus. In: Reuther, W., H.J. Webber, and L.D. Batchelor (eds.). The Citrus industry, rev. University of California Press.

Lelong, B.M. 1902. Culture of the citrus in California. Revised by the State Board of Horticulture. Supt. State Printing, Sacramento, California. 267 pp.

Mabberley, D.J. 2004. Citrus (Rutaceae): A review of recent advances in etymology, systematics and medical applications. Blumea 49: 481–498.

Swingle, W.T. and P.C. Reece. 1967. The botany of Citrus and its wild relatives. In: Reuther, W., H.J. Webber, and L.D. Batchelor (eds.). The Citrus industry. Ed. 2. Vol. I. University of California, Riverside.

Webber, H.J. 1943. Cultivated varieties of citrus. In: Webber, H.J. and L.D. Batchelor (eds.). The Citrus industry. I: 475-668. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.

Ziegler, L.W. and H.S. Wolfe. 1961. Citrus growing in Florida. University of Florida Press, Gainesville. 248 pp.



Search for this cultivar in NCBI Entrez, NCBI Nucleotide, or Expressed Sequence Tags

Additional information on this cultivar at University of California: Riverside Citrus Variety Collection


Citrus ID Edition 2
October, 2011