The flavor of the Persian lime, the cultivar most readily available in U.S. markets, is much milder by comparison. So, why aren't Key limes as widely used here as in the rest of the world? It has something to do with the fruit's checkered new-world history. Arriving in the Caribbean with Christopher Columbus, the Key lime thrived in the region, including in Florida, up through the early 20th century. Then, in 1926, a hurricane wiped out most of the Sunshine State's crop, which was replaced with plantings of the larger, thicker-skinned Persian, a lime considered sturdier and therefore easier to cultivate and transport. A few of the original trees survived in the Florida Keys, where the fruit acquired its American name and where, in the 19th century, the eponymous pie was invented.