Orange Trees are one of the most popular fruit trees in the world. They have been cultivated since ancient times. The orange tree is native to Central America and Mexico. Today there are over 300 species of oranges, including the domesticated varieties such as the Hass variety grown commercially in Europe and North America, and the domestic varieties like those grown in California orchards. There are many different types of orange trees, but all of them belong to the genus Citrus (Citrullus). The common name “orange” refers to their bright red coloration. Some varieties produce small fruits with greenish flesh, while others produce large fruits with white flesh. All varieties of oranges contain a mixture of two substances: citric acid and fructose. These compounds give orange juice its characteristic flavor and color. Citrus fruits are very nutritious. Their high water content makes them ideal for human consumption.
The orange tree grows from a single trunk up to several meters tall, and it produces numerous branches which branch out into thousands of individual leaves. The orange tree’s flowers are produced in spring and summer, and they bloom at various locations along the trunk. The fruit ripens during late winter through early spring. It is oval shaped and its skin color varies from green to yellow to red.
The orange tree grows best in areas with warm, sunny weather. They are especially suited for orchards. In some locations they are grown in gardens due to their decorative flowers and brightly colored fruit. In some countries, the orange has a significant cultural meaning. It is sometimes used as a national symbol, and it is commonly used as decoration during certain religious holidays.
The orange tree is a long-living tree, capable of living up to 300 or 400 years. The oldest orange tree ever found was 940 years old! In optimal conditions, the orange tree grows a few centimeters a year. Its growth slows down as it ages.
The orange tree begins life as a seed that is germinated in the soil. The seed must receive at least 10cm of water per week. Some people cover the seed with a thin layer of soil, while others allow it to germinate partially exposed to the air. The seedling develops a long taproot that is necessary for sustaining its life in the soil. As the seedling grows, it produces smaller roots from its branches. The root system eventually forms a network of diagonal connections with its siblings. The development of this complex root system is vital for supporting the growth of the orange tree’s large trunk and branches.
Within a few years, the trunk reaches 25cm in diameter. The first leaves begin sprouting on the stem when the tree is about a year old, and they grow oppositely from one another. The leaves have sharp teeth that point downward from the stem. They also contain large cells which aid in absorbing water.
As their name suggests, their green color is due to chlorophyll, a chemical that is vital for photosynthesis. This chemical is held in body of cells called chloroplasts within the leaves. As they grow and mature, the trees produce smaller branches that sprout leaves of their own.
Most orange trees are male, a few are female and even fewer are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs). Male flowers bloom first, followed by the female flowers. The hermaphrodite flowers bloom last. Each flower is responsible for producing a fruit.
For the fruit to grow successfully, the flowers must be pollinated from another tree of the same variety (or at least a similar one). Farmers will often plant more than one orange tree in a single orchard because each tree’s harvest season typically lasts about six months.
When the trees begin to bloom, honey bees are often employed to spread pollen between the male and female flowers. Some farmers do this manually using a brush. Each flower blooms for about a week and the flowers are all fertile for three days of that week. Most varieties produce fruit within a year, but a few stubborn types take up to two years before they are ready.
While the trees can live up to 200 years, most trees begin producing less fruit after 75-100 years. Farmers may choose to prune the older trees and plant new ones.
The fruit itself is vital for humans to consume. It contains Vitamin C and is a good source of potassium. It also has many other nutrients that are vital for human life such as carotene, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus and thiamine. The peel of the fruit is not edible, but it does contain a great deal of nutrients and is used as fodder for livestock in some countries.
The orange originated in Asia, probably the Himalayas region between Nepal and China. From there, it spread to Greece and then to northern Africa. Arab traders helped the orange to spread throughout northern Africa and from there it reached Spain. From Spain, Portuguese and Italian sailors carried them to the Canary Islands, and from there they spread throughout the Mediterranean.
By 1540, the fruit had reached Mexico and the Caribbean. Immediately after their discovery of the New World, Europeans brought orange trees with them to their new colonies in order to grow more for medicinal and culinary purposes.
The word “orange” comes from the archaic English word “orenge,” which in turn comes from the Middle English word “orenjen” (with just one N). Middle English was used between the 12th and 15th centuries. Before that, the fruit was referred to as “ping-ke” in Mandarin, “zhu-zi” in Cantonese (a language of southern China), “limun” in Arabic (a region in western Asia), “limo” in Greek (another region in western Asia), “norango” in Basque (a language used in northern Spain and southwestern France), “naranja” in Spanish (used in southern Europe) and many other similar words in other languages.
In the first century A.D., Roman naturalist, philosopher and scientist, Pliny the Elder wrote about the orange in his book NATURALIS HISTORIA. He described the orange as being bitter, and not pleasant to eat.
He also believed the flower to have a sedative effect on the body. The ancient Indians and Egyptians also grew oranges, although they were used as ornamental plants rather than eaten.
About 500 years after Pliny’s writings, an Arab physician named Aetius Amidenus wrote that the juice of the orange could be used treat ailments such as tapeworms and bad breath. He also recommended drinking the juice with sugar and water to help cure fevers.
The first orange trees in France were grown by Charles II of Spain (also known as Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire) at the Palace of the Louvre. The royal family was so keen on the fruit that they planted many orange trees in the gardens of their palace.
In 1720, the Kingdom of Portugal took over the Kingdom of Spain. Portuguese ships began transporting their oranges to their new Spanish territory. This started a large-scale cultivation of oranges in southern Portugal and throughout Europe. By the following century, thousands of tons of oranges were being imported into Great Britain each year.
The first orange tree grew in British North America in 1633, in what is today New Jersey. It was grown by a Mrs. Higgins, who received the seedling from a passing sailor.
The first navel oranges were found growing in a clearing in the Brazilian jungle around 1820. They were named after Don Rodrigues – a man who owned the land on which they were growing.
In 1928, the famous blood orange was found in Algeria. It gets its name from the color of the flesh, which tends to be dark red, like that of a human.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture uses 660 million pounds of oranges every year. It’s the most popular fruit in America.
Every year, Americans eat around 15 pounds of oranges each, which is around 18 oranges.
A single ML Blood Orange tree can produce up to 300 oranges in a single growing season, with each orange weighing around 10 ounces.
In Florida, oranges are more expensive to grow in the winter than in the summer. This is because in the summer, the trees need to be sprayed much less and have more time to rest.
“Blood oranges” aren’t really blood. It’s just the name given to oranges that when cut, show colored inner flesh.
Roughly $1 billion worth of oranges are imported into the U.S. each year.
U.S. growers plant more than 36 million orange trees each year.
In the U.S., oranges are harvested January through March with a peak in February.
Oranges used to be called “Chinese Apples” in the U.S.
Chinatowns were sometimes called “little oranges” because of the fruit’s cultivation and use in China.
The world’s oldest orange tree (2,000 years old), named Methuselah, is located in Uzbekistan.
It takes roughly 4,000 oranges to make one gallon of orange juice.
Before it was known as an orange, the fruit was first referenced by the Romans in 700 B.C. The fruit was called the “pomum de aurum,” meaning “golden apple.”
Oranges are one of the most popular gifts given on Chinese New Year’s Day.
There’s a town in Florida called Orange City.
The orange is a member of the citrus family. Its scientific name is Citrus x sinensis.
The U.S. state with the highest percentage of orange groves is Florida, followed by California and Texas.
California is the leading producer of oranges in the U.S.
A single drop of orange oil can scent an entire room.
Oranges are a superfood that are packed with nutrients your body needs but can’t produce itself, such as vitamin C.
Oranges contain no fat, cholesterol or sodium.
The rinds can be dried and used to polish wood.
Buddhist monks spread the citrus throughout Asia and parts of Africa in the 500s.
Some people believed that if you eat an orange on Christmas Day, you’ll survive anything, even if you’re shot.
The first genetically modified food was a Flavr Savr Tomato in the early 1990s.
There are more than 2,000 varieties of oranges.
The world’s smallest orange is the size of a marble.
There are more than 450,000 oranges grown in the U.S. every hour.
The world’s most popular juice is orange juice.
In 1893, the first naval battle between countries took place between the USA and the Kingdom of Hawaii on a lake called “Waiakea” or “slimy water.” Twenty-six vessels participated, including one American man-of-war. The battle was won by the Americans.
A naval battle on a lake? What?
In 1769, Captain James Cook and his crew became the first people to eat oranges in Australia. They were grown in Chile and brought to Australia by the first Europeans to visit the area.
Approximately one billion oranges are consumed each day throughout the world. The top global consumers of oranges are the U.S. (155 million), Brazil (80 million) and China (73 million).
It’s believed that the name “orange” came from the fruit’s resemblance to the color of a part of a lion’s skin.
The fruit was named by the Romans in honor of their God of agriculture and vegetation, Apollo.
Pliny the Elder once wrote that “the Orange is a medicine chest for the nations.”
The svelte shape of an orange peel reduces its weight and makes it easy to eat.
Oranges are a member of the Rutaceae family. Other members of this family include lemon, lime, and cherries.
Oranges are believed to have originated in either China or India.
The fruit was brought to Europe by Arab traders in the 10th century.
One of the earliest mentions of the word “orange” is from a French historian in about 875 A.D. who wrote of its cultivation in Calabria, at the time a region that was part of the Byzantine Empire.
Oranges were first planted by Europeans in Florida in 1567.
The state of Florida produces more oranges than any other state in the U.S.
The U.S. state with the highest number of orange farms is Florida, followed by California and Texas.
There are over 4 million orange trees in Florida.
The majority of American oranges are grown within an area of about 265 square miles in Florida. This area is known as “the Orange Belt.”
The first juice-only orange juice factory opened in Florida, USA in 1870.
Oranges were first sold in individual containers in 1906. Previously, they were sold in bundles due to the difficulty in packaging juice into bottles.
The U.S. state with the lowest number of orange groves is Alaska, which has zero.
The average American eats around 10 pounds of oranges each year.
Approximately 2 billion oranges are produced around the world each year. That’s about 4 million tons!
More than 1.5 million tons of oranges are consumed in China every year, making it the country’s top consumer of the fruit. Japan consumes the least amount of oranges each year, with only 6,500 tons being eaten.
In California, oranges must be labeled using one of three types: “Valencias”, “Cara Caras”, or “Tangerines.”
The word “orange” comes from a merging of the word “Naranj” and “Mandarin”, two of the fruits early names.
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