Combava (Makrut Lime)

Combava (Makrut Lime)

Fruiting Tree in 5ltr pot

All year


Noun flower 889434 green


A beautiful and wonderful citrus to look at. The unmistakeable aroma of the double leaves and the nobbly fruit will transport you to Thailand. A key ingredient in many Thai dishes, especially Green Curry; the freshly picked leaves will transform your cooking.


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Botanical name: Citrus hystrix
Ideal location & conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Makrut Lime has a much higher tolerance to irrigation than most other citrus and responds very well to copious feeding.
Size after 5 years: 1.5m x 1m
Soil: Very well drained soil based compost such as John Innes No.3 with additional grit and stones. Ensure a good 7cms of drainage at the base of the pot.
Flower colour: Creamy white
Flowering period: July - November
Fruit harvest period: January - March

You can never tell a book by its cover and certainly this is true of the Combava or to give it the correct botanical title, Citrus hystrix. The fruits are without a doubt strange! The skin in knobbly and have an almost brain like appearance. Ugly is not too strong a description!

However, dig deep below the surface (but don’t discard that peel), and you have one of the most delicious and best known fruits in Asian cuisine. The peel can also be used to great effect in cookery, as can the wasp-waisted leaves. It really is a gem - and worthy of growing in anyone’s garden or terrace.

Most Citrus cultivars have multiple names, but our Citrus hystrix just about takes the biscuit. Makrut, jeruk purut,  limau purut, chanh sác, Kaffir and Combava are all names that are used to distinguish this fruit. Mostly however, the Combava or Thai Lime seem to be the most common.

Just as it proudly sports its varied titles, so it does its uses. It's heavily used in Thai and Vietnamese dishes, in Indonesia and Malay as well as Cambodia and Creole. It’s an all round star!

Don’t think we have finished yet though, It is good for hair washing to eradicate head lice and is a real wow when treating leeches. One more thing by the way, the leaf is just as good as the fruit.

Plant one now - it will change your life!