Orange Citrus x sinensis is a Citrus tree, and the fruits of this tree.
It is a hybrid
of cultivated origin, possibly between C. maxima and C. reticulata.
It is a small tree growing to 10 m tall, with thorny
shoots and evergreen leaves 4-10 cm long. The fruit originated
in southeast Asia, either in India, Vietnam or southern China. The original
fruit is rather bitter compared to modern cultivars, as is referred to
as the sour orange (or alternately, bitter, bigarade or Seville orange).
The sour taste is in fact attributed to the slight acidity of the orange's juice.
are widely grown in warm climates worldwide. The flavors of orange vary from sweet
to sour. The fruit
is commonly peeled and eaten fresh, or squeezed for its juice. It has a thick
bitter rind that is usually discarded, but can be processed into animal feed by
removing water using pressure and heat. It can also be used in certain recipes
as flavoring or a garnish.
The outer-most layer of the rind is grated or thinly veneered with a tool called
a zester, to produce orange zest which is popular in cooking because it has a
similar flavor to the inner part of the orange. The white part of the rind, pith,
is almost always discarded.
citrus trees are of a single genus, Citrus, and remain largely interbreedable;
that is, there is only one "superspecies" which includes lemons and limes
as well as oranges. Nevertheless names have been given to the various members
of the citrus family, oranges often being referred to as Citrus sinensis
and Citrus aurantium. All members of the genus Citrus are considered
berries because they
have many seeds, are fleshy, soft and derive from a single ovary.
number of cultivars of orange are now cultivated widely. The sweet
orange (Citrus x aurantium) was first grown in Spain, and has become the most popular
variety. The sweet orange will grow to different sizes and colors due to local
conditions, most commonly with ten carpels (slices) inside.
single mutation in an orchard of sweet oranges planted
at a monastery in 1820 in Brazil led to the navel orange
(aka Washington, Riverside or Bahia navel). A single cutting of the original was
then transplanted to Riverside, California
in 1870, creating a
new market worldwide. The mutation caused a 'twin' fruit, with a smaller orange
embedded in the outer fruit opposite the stem. From the outside the smaller, undeveloped,
twin leaves a human navel-like formation at the top of the fruit. Navel oranges
are almost always seedless, and tend to be larger than the sweet orange. They
are produced without pollination (parthenocarpy).
or Murcia orange
is one of the sweet oranges used for juice extraction. It is a late-season fruit.
It is a popular variety of orange when the navel oranges are out of season.
blood orange has streaks
of red in the fruit, and when squeezed the juice is often reddish. The mandarin orange is
similar, but smaller and sweeter, and the scarlet navel is a variety with
the same diploid mutation as the navel orange.
Bitter oranges are used
in marmalade and as an ingredient
in the liqueurs
cultivation is a major business, and an important part of the economies of (among
others) the US states of Florida and California, many Mediterranean countries,
Romania, South Africa,
China, and the 'Riverina'
district around the Murray River in Australia.
made from oranges
oil (produced by pressing the peel) is used in surface conditioning of wood
furniture, and (along with other citrus oils) in grease removal and as a hand-cleansing
spray (extracted from orange peels and sold commercially) is an extremely
efficient cleaning agent which is environmentally friendly and non-toxic.
- Orange blossom honey (really citrus honey) is
produced by putting beehives in the citrus groves during bloom, which also pollinates seeded citrus
varieties. Orange blossom honey is highly prized, and tastes much like orange.