Family • Rutaceae - Triphasia trifolia P. Wils. - LIME BERRY

Scientific names

Triphasia trifolia P. Wils.
Limonia trifolia Burm. f.
Limonia trifoliata Linn.
Triphasia trifoliata DC.
Triphasia aurantiola Lour.

Common names

Kalamansito (Ilk., Ibn.)
Kamalitos (Tag.)
Limonsitong-kastila (Bik.)
Sua-sua (Bik.)
Suang-kastila (Bik.)
Tagimunau (Neg.)
Lime berry (Engl.)
Myrtle lime (Engl.)
Trifoliate limeberry (Engl.)
Triphasia (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

CHAMORRO: Lemon China, Lemon de china, Lemoncito, Limon de china, Limon-China.
FRENCH: Orangine, petite citronelle.
HINDI: Chini Naranghi.
SAMOAN: Moli vai atigi lima, Moli vai atigi lima, Vali atigi lima, Vali atigi lima.
SPANISH: Limoncito.
THAI: Manao thet.

Limonsito is a smooth shrub growing to a height of 2 meters. Leaf has two sharp and slender spines at the base. Leaves have three leaflets, ovate to oblong-ovate, the terminal one 2 to 4 centimeters long; the lateral ones, smaller. Margin is crenate, the petioles very short. Flowers are very short-stalked, white, fragrant, and about 1 centimeter long. Fruit is ovoid, fleshy and red, somewhat resinous, about 12 millimeters long.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) A new bicoumarin from the leaves and stems of Triphasia trifolia / Régine Dondon et al / Fitoterapia Vol 77, Issue 2, February 2006, Pages 129-133 / doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2005.11.006

(2) Aromatic Plants from Western Cuba. VI. Composition of the Leaf Oils of Murraya exotica L., Amyris balsamifera L., Severinia buxifolia (Poir.) Ten. and Triphasia trifolia (Burm. f.) P. Wilson / Jorge A. Pino, Rolando Marbot and Victor Fuentes

(3) Triphasia trifolia – (Burm.f.)P.Wilson. / Lime Berry / Plants For A Future

(4) Traditional uses of some Indian plants among islanders of the Indian Ocean / S K Jain and Sumita Srivastava / Indian Journ of Traditional Knowledge, Vol 4(4), Oct 2005, Pp 345-357

(5) Triphasia trifolia / Common names / Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk / PIER

– Throughout the Philippines in thickets and settled areas, in some places gregarious and abundant.
– Introduced; probably Chinese in origin.
– Pantropic in cultivation.
– Naturalized in many countries.
– Cultivated for its ornamental fragrant flower and edible red fruit. Attractive as a garden hedge.

Parts utilized
Leaves and fruits.

• Study yielded a new bicoumarin from the leaves and stems; the two coumarinic moieties are derivatives of mexoticin and meranzin hydrate.
• Oil yielded 81 compounds; the main constituent was germacrene B.

• Berries are lemon-scented.
• Fragrant white flowers have a scent of orange blossoms.
• Leaves exude a resinous scent when bruised.
• Considered antifungal and antibacterial.

Edibility / Nutrition
– Fruit is edible, eaten raw or cooked.
– Ripe fruit is pleasant and sweet tasting.
– Fruit can be pickled or made into jams.

– Leaves applied externally for colic, diarrhea, and skin afflictions.
– Fruits used for cough and sore throat.
– Preparation: Peel the fruits and soak overnight lime (apog) water. Rinse, and boil in 1 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar. Rinse and boil a second and third time as preferred, syrupy or candied, using as needed for cough or sore throat.
– Among islanders of the Indian Ocean, fresh crushed leaves applied to dandruff. Also, used for coughs.
– In the Dutch Indies, natives apply the leaves to the body for various complaints: diarrhea colic, and skin diseases.
– In Guyana, fruit is cooked in water and sugar, used as remedy for coughs to loosen phlegm.

– Baths: Leaves used in making aromatic bath salts.
– Cosmetic: Leaves used in cosmetics.

Study Findings
• Phenolics / Anti-HSV: Study on the inhibitory effects of phenolic compounds on herpes simplex virus and HIV included 13 coumarins from Triphasia trifolia. The data suggests the bis-hydroxyphenyl structure as a potential target for anti-HSV and HIV drugs development.
• Bicoumarin: Study yielded a new bicoumarin from the leaves and stems of Triphasia trifolia.The two coumarinic moieties are derivatives of mexoticin and meranzin hydrate.