Orange Slice (Citrus sinensis)
The orange tree (Citrus aurantium dulcis) is a flowering tree with glossy, evergreen leaves and thorny branches. Its beautiful white flowers are fragrant and its fruits are juicy, orange berries called hesperidium. It is thought to be native to China and the Far East.
The bright colour of the fruits made them very popular, favoured especially by royalty. They are thought to be the fabled ‘golden apples’ grown in the garden of Hesperides in Greek mythology. They have since featured in many cultural traditions to symbolize fertility, prosperity and good luck.
Though the Arab traders brought bitter oranges to Europe, the Portuguese introduced the sweet orange in the 15th century. This became the favoured choice, as it was far more palatable. Columbus brought introduced the orange to the western hemisphere along with other citrus fruits.
Today, the main producers of sweet orange are Brazil, United States, Spain and Italy. Most of the oranges grown in United States come from Florida and California.