Lemon (lebu) a citrus fruit (Citrus limon) of Indian origin. Plants are grown all over Bangladesh, though their production is concentrated in Sylhet, Chittagong and the Chittagong Hill Tracts; cultivated in homestead as well as in orchard, mainly from grafts and cuttings. Plants are medium-sized, spreading types. Leaves are pale green, long ovate and pointed at the tip. Petioles are narrowly winged and margined. Flowers are reddish tinted in the bud, petals are white above and purplish below. Fruits are ovate to elliptical or oblong with thick skin; become pale yellow on ripening.

Lemon fruits are sour and juicy containing high vitamin C. They are consumed fresh for juice and used in making pickles and beverages. Lemon oil is also used for flavouring the soft drinks and confectionery products. Some local varieties are seedless such as, Elachi lebu, Pati lebu, Kaliganj lebu, Shasni lebu, etc. Recently bangladesh agricultural research institute (BARI) released one variety named BARI Lebu-1. It has Elachi (cardamom) flavour. The fruit is large, oblong, about 260g with rough skin. It is juicy (26%) and acidic, contains some seeds. An average yield is 62 fruits/plant.

Lebu (left); Kagzi Lebu (right)

Lime (kagzi lebu) Another species C. aurantifolia smaller than lemon although both are commonly known as 'lebu' in Bangla. Lime and lemon are grown in over 9000 acres of land. Plants are grown in homesteads as well as in orchards from grafts, cuttings and sometimes from seedlings. A plant of 6-7 years can produce 150-200 fruits annually. Plants are small, bushy, and have irregular branches and sharp spines. Leaves are small with narrowly winged petioles. Fruits are small, round, juicy, highly acidic, and have a thin and smooth skin. Mature fruits turn greenish-yellow on ripening and contain small polyembryonic seeds. They are available abundantly in the rainy season. Fruits are rich in vitamin C and used for fresh juice, in making pickles, and beverages.

Kagzi lebu is the most popular lime variety. Sometimes its name varies with the location such as Kagza at Ishurdi (Pabna district) and Patia kagzi in Chittagong. Recently, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) has released two varieties, namely BARI Lebu-2 and BARI Lebu-3. BARI Lebu-2 is round, medium, about 81 g, sour and juicy (33%). BARI Lebu-3 is round, small, about 55 g, less sour and highly juicy (38%)

In addition to the sour lime variety, another kind of lime called Mitha lebu or Mitha nimbu or Sharbati lebu (C. limettoides) is available in Bangladesh, which is highly polyembryonic. Plants, flower and fruits are bigger than those of sour lime. Fruits are highly juicy (42.5%), and contain less acid (0.09%), medium sized, sub-globose to oblong, and have an indistinct nipple at the apex. [SM Monowar Hossain]