Limes are loved globally for their sour yet fruity taste and their versatility in both salads and other dishes. Limes are also used frequently in mixology and can make the most boring of cocktails a more interesting and enjoyable drink. So before trying to cook or serve drinks with lime, it is best to know “do limes have seeds?”

sliced lemon on brown wooden table

What is a lime?

Limes are a highly acidic citrus fruit that is heavily comparable to a lemon. It is often thought to be the other way around but limes are actually more acidic than lemons are, yet has the same amazing nutritional qualities and are considered very healthy. The most well-known piece of lime trivia is that pirates used to stockpile them and eat them to fight off scurvy due to their insanely high amount of vitamin C.

As mentioned, limes are used very often in culinary practices and flavor a lot of brilliant dishes. It is common practice for some people to stuff a slice of lime in the neck of their beer bottle as well as it compliments the flavor of beer very well. Lime can also be used as a garnish in many cocktails and is commonly seen swimming in a lot of drinks you buy in a restaurant or a pub.

The most commercially sold lime is called Persian lime. This is just one of the many varieties of lime that exist. Some of them are much bigger than a Persian lime and some of them can be smaller, they all have mostly the same taste but range in how sour they can be. As they fluctuate in size, they also can sometimes have seeds whereas some varieties may not. The seedless variety of limes are classified as a parthenocarpic fruit and are typically made by people who produce fruit with the intent of it being seedless. This can be done by crossbreeding different citrus fruits, although the occasional seed will still make an appearance.

Other varieties of lime

Citrus trees bear fruit for a lot of the year, but the year-round availability of limes is also thanks to how many different varieties of limes there are. Some of these varieties are:

  • Persian limes
  • True lime
  • Kaffir lime
  • Finger lime
  • Rangpur lime
  • Sweet lime

These are by far the most common varieties of limes and are also the most popular in terms of what people buy to either cook with or eat.

Persian limes

Persian limes are also called either Tahiti limes or Bearss limes. They are big and green and are almost exactly like a lemon except for their taste and color. Persian limes are native to California and are a hybrid of true limes that have been specially grown to have 3 chromosomes which makes them sterile and therefore seedless. Other citrus fruits commonly have 2 chromosomes which make them fertile and able this is what makes the limes reproduce The complete opposite of Persian limes would be key limes as they contain seeds. Persian limes are usually purchased as they are seedless limes which make them great for cocktails and eating.

True limes

True limes are west Indian limes and are also called Key, Mexican or Asian limes. They are small and round and are more sour and acidic than Persian limes. They can also be rather bitter in taste while having seeds and being yellow in color.

Kaffir limes

This lime is most well known for the leaf of the citrus tree being used in Thai cooking. The Kaffir lime is related to the True lime and is round with a bumpy rind with a nob on the top. This fruit also has seeds and is very bitter, this type of lime is typically used for hair wash or insect repellent.

Finger lime

Finger limes are named as such as they grow to be 3 inches long while being relatively thin. Their skin is thin and the fruits have very firm acidic juice vesicles. The flavor of this lime is sour and bitter with a slight hint of herbaceous flavoring.

Rangpur limes

These limes look very similar to a mandarin orange so they have been nicknamed mandarin limes. They are medium-sized and contain seeds while being native to India. This lime is a hybrid of both a mandarin and a citron, which gives them a spicy flavor that is often used in cocktails and marmalades.

Sweet limes

As you can imagine, these limes are the least sour and have a sweet flavor to a certain degree. They are also citrus hybrids that include other varieties such as sweet lemons, sweet limeta, and Indian or Palestinian sweet lime.

These are the most popular lime varieties but there are many, many more out there. The flavor profiles are all very different and it is worthwhile finding the lime that suits your needs the most.

Do limes have seeds?

Some limes have seeds, whereas some limes can be completely seedless. Storebought limes are naturally seedless as they are not able to produce them. This makes limes essentially sterile, and unable to reproduce. Seedless limes have parthenocarpy and are considered to be parthenocarpic fruits which means they can create fruit without fertilization.

The citrus flowers of these limes do not require pollen in order to make fruit and this is how we are given limes without seeds from citrus trees. Persian limes are considered the most popular commercial use lime that is seedless. Seedless limes are also considered to have a much longer shelf life.

Seeds or no seeds?

To summarize, lemons and limes are ridiculously similar in almost every way except flavor. On top of this, some lime varieties are made to produce no seeds and are therefore considered sterile. A common lime variety that does not naturally produce seeds is called the Persian lime and it has 3 chromosomes instead of 2. They are specifically bred to be like this as they are commercially sold to be seedless so that people can eat them and use them in cocktails without worrying about seeds.

How do you get lime seeds?

The seeds will naturally grow inside of the lime unless it is of the seedless variety.

Why do my limes have so many seeds?

Some lime varieties have seeds, whereas others do not produce them. If your lime has seeds in it then you must have purchased a variety that is fertile and makes seeds.