Monday, March 11, 2013

LUSH: Kaffir Limes and Lime trees (Example 1-4)

LUSH with its fragrant, colorful, and funky beauty products uses a lot of natural, plant-based ingredients.  They provide excellent information about their ingredients, but still manages to list many species and/or their Latin names wrong in their Ingredient Finder.  Their ingredient list goes mostly by plant names, not plant ingredient names. I applaud their efforts in ingredient transparency, and these examples illustrates some of the issues raised in the blog posts below this.

LUSH gets many species names correct, but here are some examples of botanical inaccuracies when plant species are listed:

Kaffir lime leaf, Tilia europaeaThe photo at this entry shows leaves of the Kaffir lime plant, Citrus hystrix, a relative of the common lime and orange, and in the Rutaceae family.  The text under this entry refers to an European hardwood tree genus called limes or linden trees, that is related to mallows and cotton and in the Malvaceae family. The listed species, Tilia europaea, should be listed as Tilia x europaea (common lime), since it is a naturally occurring hybrid of two wild European species in this genus (a synonym for this species is Tilia x vulgaris).
    This is a complete mix up of two species, one a kind of tropical Citrus and the other a tall tree from Europe. These two species couldn't be more different.  Lime of course, also refer to calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide, among many other things.
    Common names in English are often not unique to one particular plant species, that is why we have unique Latin names for all species. I think that the species used in the products are Citrus hystrix, which has plenty of essential oils of a flavor that are also used in Asian cooking. But you shouldn't have to guess, it should be clear on the company's website.  Here is how different the two species are in leaf morphology:
Kaffir Lime leaves, Citrus hystrix
(Image source: Fatrabbit, Wikimedia commons, CC license)
Common Lime leaves, Tilia x europea
(Image source: Alvesgaspar, Wikimedia commons, CC license)

Blackcurrant, Ribes Nigrum: should be Ribes nigrum.

Flax, Linum Usitatissimum: should be Linum usitatissimum

Indigo Henna (Indigofera Tintctoria): should be indigo, Indigofera tinctoria. Note spelling of the Latin name.  Henna comes from another plant, so the made up common name 'indigo henna' is confusing and doesn't refer to a species, but to a LUSH product.