Why are oranges called oranges

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why are oranges called oranges

Oranges by John McPhee

Heres what I learned about oranges, or citrus generally:

-- Citrus does not come true from seed. What this means is: If you plant an orange seed, a grapefruit might come up. If you plant a seed of that grapefruit, you might get a bitter lemon. To get oranges, specifically, you have to graft the orange to the rootstock of some other citrus tree. Sweet Florida oranges are grown primarily from bitter orange and sour lemon root.

-- Columbus himself brought the first oranges to the New World.

-- An orange grown in Florida usually has a thin and tightly fitting skin, and it is also heavy with juice. Californians say that if you want to eat a Florida orange you have to get into a bathtub first. California oranges are light in weight and have thick skins that break easily and come off in hunks. The flesh inside is marvelously sweet, and the segments almost separate themselves. In Florida, it is said that you can run over a California orange with a ten-ton truck and not even wet the pavement.

-- A citrus fruit is, botanically, a berry.

-- When you buy a lime to add to your gin and tonic it is generally seedless, which is certainly accommodating for the serious drinker. But its a problem for pomologists confronted with a virus to an orchard. The most common way to create a virus-free strain of a citrus fruit is to plant a seed, since a parents virus is not transmitted to its seedlings. So, what to do with the seemingly seedless lime? Two researchers cut up eighteen hundred and eighty-five Persian Limes and found no seeds at all. They next went to a lime concentrate plant and filled up two dump trucks with pulp from the tens of thousands of Persian Limes that had been turned into limeade. Picking through it all by hand, they found two hundred and fifty seeds, and planted them. Up from those lime seeds came sweet oranges trees, bitter orange trees, grapefruit trees, lemon trees, tangerines, limequats, citrons--and two seedlings which proved to be Persian Limes.

-- The modern fruit we recognize as an orange almost surely developed in China.

-- The word orange evolved from the Sanskrit. It was orange first in France.

-- In fifteenth-century Breslau, there was an annual orange shoot . . . during which marksmen spent happy hours shooting oranges off one anothers heads. In Switzerland, the legend of William Tell was recorded in the same century, and since there seems never to have been a William Tell, it is possible that the Swiss borrowed the idea from the Breslovians, and that the fruit on the head of Tells trusting son might well have been an orange.

-- Harriet Beecher Stowe bought an orange orchard in Florida in 1868. A Southern newspaper expressed satisfaction that Mrs. Stowe has done this little to repair the world of the evil for which she is responsible in the production of Uncle Toms Cabin.

-- Many societies believed that the worst thing to happen to an orange tree was the touch of a woman. This superstition was especially persistent in Germany.

-- Oranges appear frequently in the paintings of the great masters of the Italian Renaissance.* Not having seen the Holy Land, they glibly set their Annunciations and Resurrections in Italian villas and on Italian hills. Crusaders, among others, had long since reported that orange trees flourished in Palestine, so, as a kind of hallmark of authenticity, the painters slipped orange trees into masterpiece after masterpiece, remaining ignorant to their deaths that in the time of Christ there were no orange trees in or near the Holy Land.


This book was written in 1966 and does seem a little dated, especially with a large focus on orange concentrate. I dont even know anyone who buys concentrate anymore unless they order it in a chain restaurant for breakfast and it comes gurgling out of one of those machines. I googled my suspicion and, surprisingly, did not get an answer to my specific question. What I got instead was bombarded with links telling me that orange juice is no good for me, with titles like Why Orange Juice is Slowly Killing You. So, being health-conscious as I am, I will have my vodka straight.

And now you know what I know about oranges.

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*After a quick look, I didnt find any oranges in the fruit bowls but I did find many, many orange trees, for instance, in Madonna of the Orange Tree:



And, nothing conceals like orange leaves:

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Growing The Best Oranges - Washington Navel Orange

Which Came First: Orange the Color or Orange the Fruit?

Find out how they get their brilliant hue, why many ripe oranges have to be dyed, and why nothing in the world is what you think it is. While the name origins of many fruits are a mystery, the orange seems like a no-brainer. It was named for it color. And although the flesh of oranges does flare a tasty-looking orange, the skin of many oranges, especially in the ones in warmer countries, is green. Most green oranges, on the other hand, are perfectly ripe. In warm, sunny countries, that chlorophyll stays in the fruit. In South American countries and tropical countries near the equator, oranges stay green all year around.

Is an orange called an orange because it's orange, or is orange orange because of the orange?
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The sweet orange reproduces asexually apomixis through nucellar embryony ; varieties of sweet orange arise through mutations. The orange is a hybrid between pomelo Citrus maxima and mandarin Citrus reticulata. The orange originated in Ancient China and the earliest mention of the sweet orange was in Chinese literature in BC. The fruit of the orange tree can be eaten fresh, or processed for its juice or fragrant peel. All citrus trees belong to the single genus Citrus and remain almost entirely interfertile.

Orange is the colour between yellow and red on the spectrum of visible light. Human eyes perceive orange when observing light with a dominant wavelength between roughly and nanometres. In painting and traditional colour theory , it is a secondary colour of pigments, created by mixing yellow and red. It is named after the fruit of the same name. The orange colour of carrots , pumpkins , sweet potatoes , oranges, and many other fruits and vegetables comes from carotenes , a type of photosynthetic pigment. These pigments convert the light energy that the plants absorb from the sun into chemical energy for the plants' growth.

4 thoughts on “Oranges by John McPhee

  1. Oranges weren't named for their color – because their color often wasn't orange. Find out how they get their brilliant hue, why many ripe.

  2. Are oranges called oranges because oranges are orange, or is orange called Etymonline says the word "orange" was not used as a color until the s, but.

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