The Orange, specifically, the Sweet Orange, is a hybrid, between pomelo and mandarin. Sweet Oranges were mentioned in Chinese literature as far back as 314 BC, but is unknown in the wild state. Oranges were considered a luxury item and wealthy people grew them in private conservatories, called orangeries.
By 1646, the Sweet Orange was well known throughout Europe. Spanish travellers introduced the Sweet Orange to the American continent. On his second voyage in 1493, Christopher Columbus may have planted the fruit in Hispaniola. Like most citrus plants, Oranges do well in moderate temperatures and require considerable amounts of sunshine and water. They are sensitive to frost so should be protected during the winter months.
Orange trees are the most cultivated fruit tree in the world and account for approximately 70% of citrus production. They 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. In 2013, 71.4 million metric tons of Oranges were grown worldwide, production being highest in Brazil and the American states of Florida and California.
Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium), also known as a Seville Orange, is a sour Orange and commonly used as a marmalade Orange.
Bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia Risso), grown mainly in Italy for its peel, producing a primary essence for perfumes, is also used to flavor Earl Grey tea.
Trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata), is often used 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.
Orange trees are generally 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).
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.
Valencia Oranges are late-season fruit and therefore a popular variety when Navel Oranges are out of season
Hamlin Oranges are small, smooth, not highly coloured, seedless and juicy, with a pale yellow coloured juice. 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.
Orange Pulp is an excellent source of Vitamin C.
Orange Blossom is highly fragrant and traditionally associated with good fortune. It has long been popular in bridal bouquets and head wreaths. It is an important component in the making of perfume and in Spain, fallen Orange Blossoms are dried and used to make tea. Orange Blossom Honey (or citrus honey) is obtained by putting beehives in the citrus groves while trees bloom. This type of honey has an orangey taste and is highly prized. Marmalade is usually is made with Seville Oranges and all parts of the fruit are used.
Orange Peel is used by gardeners as a slug repellent.
Orangewood Sticks are used as cuticle pushers in manicures and pedicures and as a seasoning for grilled meat.