We bought some decorative Chinese New Year Lime trees this year. When the man from the nursery put the pots in the car and we drove back with them, the car was filled with the most lovely citrus aroma.
The kids wanted to know if we could eat the fruits. The man at the nursery had told them that it was poison. Thinking that he was just kidding them, I told them that it should be fine but it is very sour, not nice at all. It is only nice for making a drink with. They thought it was mini mandarin oranges because they look very much like that to them.
My husband said we should err on the cautious side and not take them. I was not convinced so he drove back to the plant nursery to ask the lady. The lady said “No, the fruits are not edible because it contains a lot of chemicals and pesticides. You should wait for another round of fruiting first.”
I found an article which confirmed what she said. Here is the article “Deadly fruits of decorative lime trees” You should read it too. It is very interesting. It says that the fruits are so laden with plant growth hormones or enhancers, chemical inducers, insecticides and fungicides etc (just so to make sure the plant would fruit around the Chinese New Year period) that if could be fatal to eat them and they should not be consummed in any form! You should also watch out for unscrupulous traders who put this fruit for sale at the supermarkets at the end of the Chinese New Year period.
If you want to know what the lime tree or “kumquat” represent, you can read this “Auspicious plants for Chinese New Year”. In short, it symbolizes prosperity and abundance. Here is another post from the same blog on the many uses of calamansi, limau kastari or “kat chai”. However, in using them in foods or drinks, be sure to use them not during the Chinese New Year season unless they are from your own garden and free of pesticides.