Orange , common name for citrus fruit of several trees. Different
varieties include the sweet orange, the sour, or Seville orange, and the
mandarin orange, or tangerine, all rich in vitamin C. The fruit is
a hesperidia, a kind of berry. It consists of several easily separated
carpel's, or sections, each containing several seeds and many juice cells,
covered by a leathery exocarp, or skin, containing numerous oil glands.
Orange trees are evergreens, seldom exceeding 9 m (30 ft) in height. The
leaves are oval and glossy and the flowers are white and fragrant. Three
essential oils are obtained from oranges: oil of orange, obtained from the
rind of the fruit and used principally as a flavoring agent; oil of
obtained from the leaves and twigs and used in perfumery; and oil of
neroli, obtained from the blossoms and used in flavorings and perfumes.
Oranges are of great commercial importance and are cultivated in warm
regions, although they are native to south-eastern Asia. Principal orange
growing areas outside Europe include the southern United States, Israel,
and Brazil. The sweet oranges are the most commonly grown. They
include the common orange, the navel orange, and the blood orange. The
common orange, which includes the Valencia orange, is cultivated and
sold as fresh fruit and is also the source of most orange juice. The navel
orange is seedless, less juicy than the common orange, and has a small
second fruit growing at one end of the fruit. The skin and fruit of blood
oranges range from pink to red, but they are similar in most other ways to
The sour, or Seville, orange has a bitter taste and is rarely eaten fresh.
is cultivated to a limited extent for marmalade and to provide rootstock
less vigorous strains. It was introduced to the Mediterranean region by
Arabs about the 10th century, and the sweet orange was introduced by
Genoese traders in the 15th century. The bergamot orange is primarily
grown as a source of oils for cosmetics and flavoring. Mandarin oranges,
or tangerines, belong to the same genus as oranges but are not really
oranges. They are smaller in size, often slightly flattened in shape, and
have easily peeled skin. The mandarin is the parent of a number of
hybrids, such as the Clementine.
About 20 per cent of the total crop of oranges is sold as whole fruit; the
remainder is used in preparing orange juice, extracts, and preserves.
Oranges belong to the genus Citrus, of the family Rutaceae. The sweet
orange is classified as Citrus sinensis; the sour, or Seville,
Citrus aurantium; the bergamot orange as Citrus bergamia; and the
mandarin orange, or tangerine, as Citrus reticulata.