The orange (specifically, the sweet orange) is the fruit of the citrus species Citrus × sinensis in the family Rutaceae. The fruit of the Citrus × sinensis is considered a sweet orange, whereas the fruit of the Citrus × aurantium is considered a bitter orange.
The orange is a hybrid, between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and mandarin (Citrus reticulata). It has genes that are ~25% pomelo and ~75% mandarin; however, it is not a simple backcrossed BC1 hybrid, but hybridized over multiple generations. The chloroplast genes, and therefore the maternal line, seem to be pomelo.
The sweet orange has had its full genome sequenced,. Earlier estimates of the percentage of pomelo genes varying from ~50% to 6% have been reported.
The sweet orange reproduces asexually (apomixis through nucellar embryony); varieties of sweet orange arise through mutations.
Oranges in Florida.
Sweet oranges were mentioned in Chinese literature in 314 BC. As of 1987, orange trees were found to be the most cultivated fruit tree in the world. Orange trees are widely grown in tropical and subtropical climates for their sweet fruit. The fruit of the orange tree can be eaten fresh, or processed for its juice or fragrant peel. As of 2012, sweet oranges accounted for approximately 70% of citrus production. In 2010, 68.3 million metric tons of oranges were grown worldwide, production being particularly prevalent in Brazil and the U.S. states of Florida and California.
Botanical information and terminology
Main article: Citrus taxonomy
Orange blossoms and oranges on tree
All citrus trees belong to the single genus Citrus and remain almost entirely interfertile. This means that there is only one superspecies that includes grapefruits, lemons, limes, oranges, and various other types and hybrids. As the interfertility of oranges and other citrus has produced numerous hybrids, bud unions, and cultivars, their taxonomy is fairly controversial, confusing or inconsistent. The fruit of any citrus tree is considered a hesperidium (a kind of modified berry) because it has numerous seeds, is fleshy and soft, derives from a single ovary and is covered by a rind originated by a rugged thickening of the ovary wall.
Slices of a Navel orange.
Different names have been given to the many varieties of the genus. Orange applies primarily to the sweet orange – Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck. The orange tree is an evergreen, flowering tree, with an average height of 9 to 10 m (30 to 33 ft), although some very old specimens can reach 15 m (49 ft). Its oval leaves, alternately arranged, are 4 to 10 cm (1.6 to 3.9 in) long and have crenulate margins. Although the sweet orange presents different sizes and shapes varying from spherical to oblong, it generally has ten segments (carpels) inside, and contains up to six seeds (or pips) and a porous white tissue – called pith or, more properly, mesocarp or albedo—lines its rind. When unripe, the fruit is green. The grainy irregular rind of the ripe fruit can range from bright orange to yellow-orange, but frequently retains green patches or, under warm climate conditions, remains entirely green. Like all other citrus fruits, the sweet orange is non-climacteric. The Citrus sinensis is subdivided into four classes with distinct characteristics: common oranges, blood or pigmented oranges, navel oranges, and acidless oranges.
Other citrus groups also known as oranges are:
Bitter orange (Citrus aurantium), also known as Seville orange, sour orange (especially when used as rootstock for a sweet orange tree), bigarade orange and marmalade orange. Like the sweet orange, it is a pomelo x mandarin hybrid.
Bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia Risso), grown mainly in Italy for its peel, producing a primary essence for perfumes, also used to flavor Earl Grey tea. It is a hybrid, probably bitter orange x limetta.
Trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata), sometimes included in the genus (classified as Citrus trifoliata). It often serves as a rootstock for sweet orange trees and other Citrus cultivars.
Mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata) is an original species of citrus, and is a progenitor of the common orange.
An enormous number of cultivars have, like the sweet orange, a mix of pomelo and mandarin ancestry. Some cultivars are mandarin-pomelo hybrids, bred from the same parents as the sweet orange (e.g. the tangor and ponkan tangerine). Other cultivars are sweet orange x mandarin hybrids (e.g. clementines). Mandarin traits generally include being smaller and oblate, easier to peel, and less acidic. Pomelo traits include a thick white albedo (rind pith, mesocarp) that is more closely attached to the segments.
Orange trees generally are grafted. The bottom of the tree, including the roots and trunk, is called rootstock, while the fruit-bearing top has two different names: budwood (when referring to the process of grafting) and scion (when mentioning the variety of orange).
Main article: Orange (word)
The word orange derives from the Sanskrit word for "orange tree" (नारङ्ग nāraṅga), which is probably of Dravidian origin. The Sanskrit word reached European languages through Persian نارنگ (nārang) and its Arabic derivative نارنج (nāranj).
A cluster of orange blossoms.
The word entered Late Middle English in the fourteenth century via Old French orenge (in the phrase pomme d'orenge). The French word, in turn, comes from Old Provençal auranja, based on Arabic nāranj. In several languages, the initial n present in earlier forms of the word dropped off because it may have been mistaken as part of an indefinite article ending in an n sound—in French, for example, une norenge may have been heard as une orenge. This linguistic change is called juncture loss. The color was named after the fruit, and the first recorded use of orange as a color name in English was in 1512.
A closeup of an orange blossom.
As Portuguese merchants were presumably the first to introduce the sweet orange in Europe, in several modern Indo-European languages the fruit has been named after them. Some examples are Albanian portokall, Bulgarian портокал (portokal), Greek πορτοκάλι (portokali), Macedonian portokal, Persian پرتقال (porteghal), and Romanian portocală. Related names can be found in other languages, such as Arabic البرتقال (bourtouqal), Georgian ფორთოხალი (p'ort'oxali), Turkish portakal and Amharic birtukan. Also, in southern Italian dialects (e.g. Neapolitan), an orange is portogallo or purtuallo, literally "(the) Portuguese (one)", in contrast to standard Italian arancia.
In other Indo-European languages, the words for orange allude to the eastern origin of the fruit and can be translated literally as "apple from China". Some examples are Low German Apfelsine, Dutch appelsien and sinaasappel, Swedish apelsin, and Norwegian appelsin. A similar case is Puerto Rican Spanish china.
Various Slavic languages use the variants pomaranč (Slovak), pomeranč (Czech), pomaranča (Slovene), and pomarańcza (Polish), all from Old French pomme d'orenge.[not in citation given]
An orange tree.
Common oranges (also called "white", "round", or "blond" oranges) constitute about two-thirds of all the orange production. The majority of this crop is used mostly for juice extraction.
Main article: Valencia orange
An orange grove in Florida.
The Valencia orange is a late-season fruit, and therefore a popular variety when navel oranges are out of season. This is why an anthropomorphic orange was chosen as the mascot for the 1982 FIFA World Cup, held in Spain. The mascot was named Naranjito ("little orange") and wore the colors of the Spanish national football team.
Hart's Tardiff Valencia
Thomas Rivers, an English nurseryman, imported this variety from the Azores Islands and catalogued it in 1865 under the name Excelsior. Around 1870, he provided trees to S. B. Parsons, a Long Island nurseryman, who in turn sold them to E. H. Hart of Federal Point, Florida.
This cultivar was discovered by A. G. Hamlin near Glenwood, Florida, in 1879. The fruit is small, smooth, not highly colored, seedless, and juicy, with a pale yellow colored juice, especially in fruits that come from lemon rootstock. The tree is high-yielding and cold-tolerant and it produces good quality fruit, which is harvested from October to December. It thrives in humid subtropical climates. In cooler, more arid areas, the trees produce edible fruit, but too small for commercial use.
Trees from groves in hammocks or areas covered with pine forest are budded on sour orange trees, a method that gives a high solids content. On sand, they are grafted on rough lemon rootstock. The Hamlin orange is one of the most popular juice oranges in Florida and replaces the Parson Brown variety as the principal early-season juice orange. This cultivar is now[needs update] the leading early orange in Florida and, possibly, in the rest of the world.
Other varieties of common oranges