Limequats and a Salute to Walter Swingle

The Limequat is a very pretty, ornamental little citrus tree that performs beautifully well in pots and containers.
In the late autumn, early winter Limequat will smother itself in a cloak of limey yellow coloured, small fruit.
The fruit are edible, peel and all, and are a tangy lime explosion of citrus that will delight you, this and the decorative appeal of the tree provides an overwhelming interest and desirability for the Limequat. A tree created by an extraordinary Agriculturalist and plant breeder, Walter Swingle.

The Limequat is a cross between a Nagami Cumquat and a West Indian Lime.
A union that was crafted by Walter Swingle in 1897.

Swingle was one of band of botanists and plant explorers who in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s were sent from Florida in the USA to explore the use of Copper Sprays - and their effectiveness in the control of fungal diseases of crop plants in Europe. These “explorers/researchers” were also missioned to evaluate the fruits and crops of other continents and foreign lands. They returned with knowledge and exotic sustainable plant species. They introduced new expertise, species and cultivars to the USA’s developing future agricultural industry.

Swingle was particularly interested in citrus and when he was working in Florida at the USA Citrus Agricultural Department, and not “exploring”, he bred citrus varieties for disease resistance and tolerance to environment.

It was after two devastating freezes in Florida, that almost wiped out the citrus industry in 1894 and 1895, that Swingle was inspired to unite two species of citrus -the West Indian Lime and the Cumquat

The Cumquat has a natural tolerance to cold and is renown for this trait. The lime a popular and “exotic” fruit with much commercial appeal. The result of this happy fusion was the Limequat. 

Today still, we use as one of our rootstock selections, a variety called Swingle,
named in honour of Walter.