Lime and kalamansi flowers, an illustration of genetics

casaveneracion.com lime-flowers

Sam and Alex look like me. Sam looks like me and Speedy combined but more me than Speedy. Sam and Alex look alike although they both deny it vehemently. It’s called genetics. It’s not something peculiar to humans.

Genetics applies to all living organisms. Take the kalamansi and lime, for instance. The kalamansi fruit looks like a miniature lime. But the pulp of the ripe kalamansi is yellow while the pulp of the lime is a pale green. Easy enough to tell one from the other. But before there are fruits, there are flowers. And, looking at the flowers of the kalamansi and the lime in our garden, it’s not that easy to tell which is which. If I didn’t know exactly where each was planted, and if it weren’t for the fact that the kalamansi is bearing fruits right now, I might have been confused.

casaveneracion.com lime-flower

The two photos above show the flowers of the lime. Below, a flower of the kalamansi.

casaveneracion.com kalamansi-flower

Genetics, of course, accounts of the similarity in appearance. Lime and kalamansi both belong to the citrus family. In the same family are the pomelo, citron, orange and grapefruit, among others. Lemon is considered a hybrid.

In housekeeping and gardening, the similarity in appearance of citrus fruits is secondary. It is their common characteristics which make them ideal for a variety of household and garden uses that are more important. Like what? Here is a list of interesting uses of citrus fruits that I have found on the web:

1. “Cut a lemon in half, dip it in some salt and it will bring copper bottom pots back to their shiny glory. Dip the other half in some baking soda and you have a perfect, scrubber that cleans, freshens and won’t scratch surfaces, try it on sinks, stoves and counters!” — DIY Life

2. “Citrus peel is a great addition to the compost pile. Just be sure to chop them a little to help them to degrade faster. You can use any of the peels to add to a compost pile. It will make the compost pile smell fresh and clean too…” — Wikihow

3. This should be noted by owners of cast iron cookware: “Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice with two tablespoons of salt to make a rust-removing scrub.” — The Old Farmer’s Almanac

4. “Add orange peels to your garbage to keep bugs away (especially useful in outdoor situations, such as camping).” — Mother Nature Network

5. “Remove laundry stains – Remove sweat stains, ink spots, and other fresh laundry stains with fresh lemon juice. Turn the garment inside out and rinse the stain from behind with cold water. Slice a lemon in half and dab, don’t rub, the lemon directly to the garment. Let the lemon juice set for a few minutes and then wash in cold water.” — Yahoo! Voices

6. “Clean your microwave. Is the inside of your microwave caked with bits of hardened food? You can give it a good cleaning without scratching the surface with harsh cleansers or using a lot of elbow grease. Just mix 3 tablespoons lemon juice into 1 1/2 cups water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High for 5-10 minutes, allowing the steam to condense on the inside walls and ceiling of the oven. Then just wipe away the softened food with a dishrag.” — Reader’s Digest

And my favorite find? The anti-insect property of citrus.

7. “Many insects are highly sensitive to smell, including spiders, ants, fleas and typically so-hardy-they’re-almost-alien cockroaches. Squirt lemon juice in windowsills, the thresholds of doors, along baseboards and into any cracks where insects might get into the house. Add lemon juice to your floor wash for even more insect-repelling action.” — Huffington Post

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