Orange - Naranja
Citrus originated in the Malay Archipelago and in Southeast Asia, and spread westward to India and the Mediterranean before Columbus brought the first seeds to the New World (Haiti) in 1493.
Orange (fruit), common name for citrus fruit of several trees. Different varieties include the sweet orange, the sour orange, and the mandarin orange, or tangerine. The fruit is technically a hesperidium, a kind of berry. It consists of several easily separated carpels, 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 petigrain, 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, of great commercial importance, are cultivated in warm regions, although they are native to southeastern Asia. The sour orange was introduced to the Mediterranean region by the Arabs about the 10th century, and the sweet orange was introduced by Genoese traders in the 15th century.
In the United States the principal orange-producing states are Florida (the orange blossom is the state flower), California, Texas, and Arizona.
From 1991 to 1992 the yield of oranges in the United States was about 10 million metric tons. The principal varieties of the sweet orange cultivated by orange growers of the eastern United States are the Hamlin and Parson Brown, both early-maturing, seedy varieties with thin, russet skin and juicy pulp.
Both eastern and western growers cultivate the Valencia, a late variety that is commercially "seedless," having two to five seeds. The principal crops of the western growers consist of the Valencia and the Bahia, or Washington navel orange, imported from Bahia, Brazil, in 1870, and developed in Washington, D.C., by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The navel orange is a seedless orange, with medium-thick rind, in which a second small, or abortive, orange grows. A variety of the Washington navel orange is the principal orange product of Texas. The sour orange is cultivated to a limited extent for marmalade and to provide rootstock for less vigorous strains. About 20 percent of the total crop of oranges is sold as whole fruit; the remainder is used in preparing frozen and canned 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, orange as Citrus aurantium; and the mandarin orange, or tangerine, as Citrus reticulata.
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