Meet the Ilocos Jumbo Lime

There’s an old citrus variety that we have always wanted to multiply for these modern times. We are referring a citrus we have always called “Lucban” in our hometown, but the word “Lucban” is the local name for pomelo in many other parts of the country.

By Zac B. Sarian

To avoid confusion, we might as well call this the “Ilocos Jumbo Lime” because the fruits are much bigger than those of most lemons and limes.

The rind of the fruit of the jumbo lime is rough and thicker than that of calamansi. And the juice has a distinct fragrant flavor, making it a very refreshing beverage. We used to enjoy the lemonade prepared with muscovado sugar by our mother when were growing up.

There’s another favorite use of the juice by the women in those early years (1950s and 60s) who always had long hair. They used the juice in combination with the extract of the ‘gugo’ vine in preparing their natural shampoo. The shampoo has its own delightful fragrance.

Of course, like calamansi and other limes, the Ilocos Jumbo Lime makes a very nice dip for broiled fish when it is squeezed over bagoong or soy sauce.

One reason why we would like to multiply this old citrus variety is because it is very prolific; even without any special care, once it is well established in the ground. We have not observed any disease attacking this variety. The old tree we know was not fertilized at all. It was planted near a well where water was available most of the time.

There are money-making possibilities with the Ilocos Jumbo Lime. If fruits are produced in big numbers, these can be marketed in supermarkets. And that is the reason why we are advocating the multiplication of this old variety. For a start, we have grafted some 200 seedlings which could be ready for release sometime next year.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s December 2014 issue.

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