Triphasia trifolia (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Triphasia trifolia (Burm.f.) P. Wilson

Family: Rutaceae


  • Triphasia aurantiola Lour.

Vernacular names

  • Lime berry (En)
  • Indonesia, Malaysia: limau kiah, limau kikir, limau kingkit
  • Philippines: kalamansito (Tagalog), sua-sua (Bikol)
  • Cambodia: kroch chen
  • Thailand: manao-thet (Bangkok)
  • Vietnam: kim quít.


Probably a native of South-East Asia, now widespread, naturalized and cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions.


Fruits are made into preserves (marmalades, sweetmeats, etc.). The leaves are used medicinally against stomachache, the fruits against cough. Young fruits produce a good glue. The plant is popular as a hedge and the wood makes a good charcoal; it is also used as rootstock for citrus.


  • Erect evergreen shrub, 1-3(-7) m tall, armed with sharp spines.
  • Leaves trifoliolate, distichous.
  • Flowers white, fragrant.
  • Fruit an ellipsoid berry, ca. 1.5 cm long, red, pulp very viscid.

Wild in thickets at low altitudes, cultivated often in hedges. Growth is slow.

Selected sources

  • Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink, R.C., 1963-1968. Flora of Java. 3 Volumes. Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands.
  • Brown, W.H., 1951-1957. Useful plants of the Philippines. Reprint of the 1941-1943 ed. 3 Volumes. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Technical Bulletin 10. Bureau of Printing, Manila, the Philippines.
  • Burkill, I.H., 1966. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. 2nd ed. 2 Volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2444 pp.
  • Heyne, K., 1927. De nuttige planten van Nederlandsch Indië [The useful plants of the Dutch East Indies]. 2nd ed. 3 Volumes. Departement van Landbouw, Nijverheid en Handel in Nederlandsch Indië. 1953 pp.
  • Mansfeld, R. & Schultze Motel, J., 1986. Verzeichnis landwirtschaftlicher und gärtnerischer Kuturpflanzen. 2nd ed. 4 Volumes. Springer Verlag, Berlin. 1998 pp.


P.C.M. Jansen, J. Jukema, L.P.A. Oyen, T.G. van Lingen